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Anxiety and Alcohol

Updated on May 7, 2011

Anxiety and Alcohol

Is there any significant correlation or between anxiety and alcohol? Based on the research that I’ve been doing lately, I can answer an emphatic “yes” to that, and for more reasons than one. Studies have shown that alcohol usage is significantly higher in people who suffer with varying types of anxiety disorders as it is in people who have never dealt with any type of anxiety issues. Research has also suggested that people who have been prone to heavy drinking have a greater likelihood of also suffering from some degree of anxiety disorder. It’s very interesting, because alcohol is seen by many to be an “escape” from reality, and for many people who suffer with social anxiety disorder, alcohol can almost “manufacture” a certain sense of confidence that they feel they don’t possess unless they’re drinking. The problem with this is, alcohol actually chemically affects certain parts of your brain and central nervous system that are intended to keep you relaxed. So the very consumption of alcohol when you’re feeling anxious can actually be completely counter-productive to what you’re trying to accomplish. Yes, you may feel an initial “mellowing out” from the booze, but then the chemical reactions in your body can work to your detriment, as it may cause more anxiety overall than it does any kind of relaxed feeling.

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Image credit: Microsoft Office
Image credit: Microsoft Office

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Another area where anxiety and alcohol truly do not mix is with the medications that a lot of anxiety sufferers take. Most anxiety disorder sufferers take some form of anti-depressant in order to keep their internal life calm. Any anti-depressants such as Tofranil and Nortab, or other medicines like Xanax, Zoloft, and Prozac, can produce very adverse effects if taken in conjunction with drinking alcohol. Taking those substances in combination can mean a trip to the hospital in short order, and have even been known to cause death. So it is absolutely necessary for you, if you’re prone to drinking alcohol to relax, to make sure and understand the ramifications of taking any type of anti-anxiety medicines in combination with drinking alcohol. Run all of these issues by your doctor and make sure that you are fully informed by all pertinent medical professionals regarding the effects of combining anxiety and alcohol. The truth of the matter is, if you’re drinking alcohol to “dumb yourself down” so that you won’t fully feel the symptoms of anxiety, you are working against yourself, and in the long run it will probably not turn out to your benefit. Do the necessary research, make sure to consult with your doctor, and keep safety first. After all, you only have one life to live.


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