So many people suffer from anxiety in the modern world that it’s almost more surprising to hear when someone is not anxious about an upcoming event or relationship or conflict in his or her life than to hear a long list of anxiety-related feelings. Although anxiety is a widespread condition, it’s not always crippling. Many people are able to manage fleeting instances of nerves or worries or fears. But when anxiety starts to cross over into a more debilitating, ongoing state that interferes with your normal routine, turning to a soothing substance like alcohol is not uncommon. Anxiety and alcohol can become a hindering feedback loop that we will explore further below.
How Anxiety Manifests
Because anxiety can cover a broad range of disorders, from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, to Panic Disorder, to Social Anxiety Disorder, to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and beyond, its symptoms will vary from person to person. Some of the most frequent ways it manifests, however, include racing heart rate, distraction or difficulty concentrating, memory recall issues, sleepless nights, muscle tension, jaw clenching, nausea, upset stomach, and fatigue. You may feel edgy and unusually abrasive or find yourself worrying and looping over the same sources of distress without being able to find your way out. This fixation can feel overwhelming, and without the right help or guidance, it may lead you to seek other ways to cope. That’s where anxiety and alcohol come into play together and initially, alcohol is extremely effective at reducing the symptoms of anxiety.
Why People Turn To Alcohol
Knowing what a potent physical and mental toll anxiety can take on anyone, it makes sense that someone suffering from frequent bouts of anxiety would turn to something that represents a soothing balm or distraction from the vicious circle of restless thought patterns. Anxiety and alcohol share a long history of use as a means to overcome that leads to abuse. It’s all too easy for one drink to ‘take the edge off’ to lead to more drinks. If you can’t find any other outlet or means of dealing with the symptoms of anxiety, you may find yourself turning again and again to the liquid anesthetic. The more frequent you use it to calm your anxious physical and emotional symptoms, the more you run the risk of teaching your body to depend on the substance which leads to a greater need for it to achieve the same results.
Why Anxiety and Alcohol Don’t Mix Well
Feeding your body a cocktail when it actually needs skills to actually reduce the root cause of anxiety, can only lead to an exacerbation of the symptoms you’re trying to escape. Although alcohol is effective at bringing initial relief from panic, insomnia, and anxiety, overtime alcohol can become one of the problems as it will worsen the very symptoms that it initially reduced. One of the best things you can do for your anxiety is to find the root cause of what is igniting it by seeking treatment before another difficult condition such as alcohol use disorder begins to manifest.
At True Life Center’s mental health IOP and PHP, we treat all of the above conditions with our unique Neurobiological Integration, an integrated and collaborative approach that aims to identify the root cause of illness and gets results by using the synergistic combination of:
- Individual psychotherapy with DBT, CBT and/or psychodynamic approach
- Specialized psychiatric treatment
- Mindfulness and Self-compassion practices
- Family Therapy
- Co-Occurring substance use treatment
- Anti-Craving medication
Finding Help In Your Struggle With Anxiety and Alcohol
True Life Center prides itself on helping you help yourself. After spending time with you and coming to understand the very real struggle you’re enduring, we will customize a plan using our integrative model that incorporates your dreams and your goals into the path we will build towards wellness and recovery. Give True Life Center a call at 866.420.1792 to start your journey to healing today.