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Author Topic: Drink -> Depression -> Anxiety -> Panic  (Read 327 times)

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Offline jed

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Drink -> Depression -> Anxiety -> Panic
« on: December 12, 2013, 08:02:22 PM »
Since my anxiety "began" (became a significant problem) about six months ago, this frustrating chain of events happens when I have even one alcoholic drink.

1. I get depressed, quickly. Back in the day this would sometimes happen to me hours after drinking, but never within thirty minutes which is the case now.

2. I get anxious about the depression. I'm a lightweight so one drink is enough to make me too tipsy to be in control of the negative, anxious thoughts.

3. Panic attack.

This doesn't seem to be environment-dependent: happens by myself, having dinner with my girlfriend at home, on a date in a restaurant, or at happy hour with coworkers.

Anyone experience this before? Any ideas on how to break this cycle? I really miss letting my hair down and making an absolute fool of myself at karaoke  :spineyes:
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Offline wheelie19

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Re: Drink -> Depression -> Anxiety -> Panic
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2013, 11:47:55 PM »
Hi Jed,

Are you on any type of meds? A lot of times with anxiety, there is some depression to.  Even though this is not always the case, I have found drinking to be very bad for anxiety for a few reasons

1.  It helps me in the mount, but because alcohol is a depressant, you feel like ***** the next day.
2.  Alcohol  can have worse effects if on meds and totally work against them (most meds used to treat anxiety are anti-depressants.) 
3.  I found it to be VERY addicting.  Even if for a bit,  I escaped.  I realized this was not a good sign and have pretty much stayed away except for the occasional drink.

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Offline jed

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Re: Drink -> Depression -> Anxiety -> Panic
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2013, 12:31:48 PM »
Thanks for the response, Wheelie. I'll keep these things in mind.

I actually had a big holiday party with some friends and family last night and drank quite a bit. I was very nervous and anxious leading up to it and for the first half hour but I realized that making a serious effort to talk and laugh with others really helped. I had a great evening. When I went to bed and when I woke up this morning, I felt like crap and had a lot of health anxiety about it, probably because I haven't felt a killer hangover in a while. A few hours later, I feel better -- and accomplished!
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Offline MITRush

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Re: Drink -> Depression -> Anxiety -> Panic
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2013, 09:13:45 PM »
The fact that you have outlined these steps in detail tells me that you are very cognizant of a thought process that you believe is happening (and it very well may be happening).  Even, for instance, if you did drink one night, and did not get depressed, you would be expecting the impending depression/ anxiety, and the tension from anticipation alone would probably put you in a similar state.  My point is to realize that part of it is happening "naturally," and part of it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Staying engaged is indeed a good way to cope with the situation.  But in my opinion, a better way would be to not try to avoid or stop the chain of events from happening.  When you let the feelings of depression/ fatigue/ anxiety/ panic to surface and even envelop you, you shine a light on them and slowly they become less scary and less intense; and at this point they are just annoying.  I know when they are intense this can seem impossible, but it becomes easier with repetition and practice.  Practice, practice, practice.

If you are drinking every day or close to it, or you feel that you are dependent on alcohol, then that is a different situation, but I am assuming you only drink within a normal range.

It would be easier for me to just tell you to avoid drinking, just like some people avoid caffeine, but I think that's a bad way to cope with anxiety.  The solution I think lies in convincing yourself that you can get a buzz without this chain reaction.  It won't happen over night, but if you keep letting the symptoms come when you start drinking they will gradually lose importance and intensity, until they are gone.
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Offline jed

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Re: Drink -> Depression -> Anxiety -> Panic
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2013, 03:59:43 PM »
That's very helpful, MITRush, thank you. I think this "shine a light" perspective/technique will also help with the general blues I feel after having a few bad anxiety days.
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