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    Old 02-08-2004, 09:57 AM   #1
    pattycake
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    Alcohol/Anxiety

    I have some questions............

    I have had anxiety and panic since I was probalby 15 years old; having an attack, "flipping out", two or three times a year. Never felt the need to pursue help.

    It got bad when I was 27, after a break up of a long term relationship, I lost it (which I beleive is normal). I went to a Dr. and received Paxil. It helped, I got over [email protected]?-head, I stopped taking Paxil.

    Now, three years later, I'm flipping out every day for no reason (which is NOT normal). My dog barks, I want to strangle the poor thing. My boyfriend puts his arm around me without my realizing it and I have the instant reflex of a curled fist. Bright lights and loud noises make me want to destroy their sources in a hail of shattered glass and fire!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry. Anyway, can untreated anxiety get so intense like this? I mean, has it actually gotten worse, this bad? Or does it sound like something else, like mad cow or some other brain wasting disease? I just feel totally out of control all of a sudden with really no reason. It's scaring me!

    The Dr. said my blood work and heart were fine. I told him it must be anxiety then , he agreed. My Dr. gave me buspar and lorza something (ativan). After 2 weeks the buspar did nothing but make me a walking zombie (even more irritable), but the ativan (to be taken at time of anxiety) is wonderful, no side effects at all, it just makes me feel "normal" again.

    I saw in a recent post "Sickman" said some people can't take these drugs as needed, I'm starting to think I'm one of them. This drug makes me feel wonderful, but when it wears off, I'm a nutcase again. Regarding addiction, I'm well aware that someone who needs a drug to treat an illness is medically dependant, not addicted. But what effects does long term use have on your body (i.e. your liver)? I can't seem to find this info anywhere.

    I also know that there is a physical dependence with long term use of benzo whatever they are, but are the withdrawls potentially dangerous? Life threatening? Or just extremely uncomfortable and physchologically excruciating?

    My other question is, does anyone else feel extra especially stressed out after a night of drinking? (And I mean a normal night of social drinking, not "I can't find my car" or "oh no, where am I?").

    I realize that the long term effects of drinking can be psychologically (and physically) detrimental to your health, but I mean just going out and having a few drinks with friends, having a good time, and waking up in a panic with my heart racing feeling dizzy and an impending sense of doom (my neurotic comulsive thing is "pulmonary thrombosis! I can't breathe, I can't breathe! Honey, you can have all of my cd's").

    Everything is fine, why am I freaking?! It's a beautiful day, I don't have to work today. But I had to take two pills to convince myself that I wasn't dying and that the plane flying low over the house wasn't actually going to crash into it.

    Sorry for the long winded post, anyone?

     
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    Old 02-08-2004, 11:24 AM   #2
    mandi-deg
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    Re: Alcohol/Anxiety

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pattycake
    I have some questions............

    I have had anxiety and panic since I was probalby 15 years old; having an attack, "flipping out", two or three times a year. Never felt the need to pursue help.

    It got bad when I was 27, after a break up of a long term relationship, I lost it (which I beleive is normal). I went to a Dr. and received Paxil. It helped, I got over [email protected]?-head, I stopped taking Paxil.

    Now, three years later, I'm flipping out every day for no reason (which is NOT normal). My dog barks, I want to strangle the poor thing. My boyfriend puts his arm around me without my realizing it and I have the instant reflex of a curled fist. Bright lights and loud noises make me want to destroy their sources in a hail of shattered glass and fire!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry. Anyway, can untreated anxiety get so intense like this? I mean, has it actually gotten worse, this bad? Or does it sound like something else, like mad cow or some other brain wasting disease? I just feel totally out of control all of a sudden with really no reason. It's scaring me!

    The Dr. said my blood work and heart were fine. I told him it must be anxiety then , he agreed. My Dr. gave me buspar and lorza something (ativan). After 2 weeks the buspar did nothing but make me a walking zombie (even more irritable), but the ativan (to be taken at time of anxiety) is wonderful, no side effects at all, it just makes me feel "normal" again.

    I saw in a recent post "Sickman" said some people can't take these drugs as needed, I'm starting to think I'm one of them. This drug makes me feel wonderful, but when it wears off, I'm a nutcase again. Regarding addiction, I'm well aware that someone who needs a drug to treat an illness is medically dependant, not addicted. But what effects does long term use have on your body (i.e. your liver)? I can't seem to find this info anywhere.

    I also know that there is a physical dependence with long term use of benzo whatever they are, but are the withdrawls potentially dangerous? Life threatening? Or just extremely uncomfortable and physchologically excruciating?

    My other question is, does anyone else feel extra especially stressed out after a night of drinking? (And I mean a normal night of social drinking, not "I can't find my car" or "oh no, where am I?").

    I realize that the long term effects of drinking can be psychologically (and physically) detrimental to your health, but I mean just going out and having a few drinks with friends, having a good time, and waking up in a panic with my heart racing feeling dizzy and an impending sense of doom (my neurotic comulsive thing is "pulmonary thrombosis! I can't breathe, I can't breathe! Honey, you can have all of my cd's").

    Everything is fine, why am I freaking?! It's a beautiful day, I don't have to work today. But I had to take two pills to convince myself that I wasn't dying and that the plane flying low over the house wasn't actually going to crash into it.

    Sorry for the long winded post, anyone?
    Meds are defenitly not for everyone. I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder when I was younger. The doctor prescribed Paxil for me. I HATED it. I refuse to take any anti-anxiety medecine. It made me feel horrible. I would suggest therapy of some sort. I haven't tried it yet. I am not sure what effects of meds are in the long term. As for a night of drinking, I think any alcohol has an effect on eveyone, just some people experience effects especially when people have anxiety disorders. Hang in there pal, I deal with anxiety everyday too.

     
    Old 02-09-2004, 01:28 AM   #3
    lori j
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    Re: Alcohol/Anxiety

    You might do better on a med that does not wear off, like a benzo does. My doc tried me on only xanax some years ago, but it always left me shakey & worse off when it wore off than before I took it.
    You may want to consult a doctor about a med that you take daily that will work around the clock without you feeling anything wear off. That is my biggest complaint about benzos, I do have them for emergencies & take one to go to sleep at nite, but for daily use, they weren't cutting it for me.
    Usually the anger you mention, can be a symptom of depression & is usually due to frustration with things. Talk to your doc about what meds are available & he should also be able to answer your questions about long term side effects.

     
    Old 02-09-2004, 12:55 PM   #4
    Rick7799
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    Re: Alcohol/Anxiety

    I have a problem with stress and anxiety and alcohol will definitely make it worse the next day. I know this so I do limit myself.

     
    Old 02-09-2004, 04:06 PM   #5
    pattycake
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    Re: Alcohol/Anxiety

    Thanks you guys, appreciate the help.

     
    Old 02-09-2004, 04:46 PM   #6
    carrielynn
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    Re: Alcohol/Anxiety

    PattyCake,

    (Love that name!)

    I went through what you're describing. I remember it was like the worst PMS I had ever had, although it wasn't PMS. I wanted to put my fist through walls and every little noise startled and ticked me off. I couldn't be around my kids. I was a raving lunatic. Then something happened that pushed me over the proverbial edge and I went downhill so fast with constant anxiety that I could barely function. (I'm not saying that will happen to you, but if you're at this ultra-irritable state, you need to be extra careful not to overdo things and to take care of yourself.)

    A pyschiatrist put me on Zoloft, which helped take the edge off of things. But what really helped me was seeing a biofeedback therapist. We did traditional muscle biofeedback, which showed me how tense I was and helped me relax. I'm now doing neurofeedback (with the same therapist) and it is calming my nervous system down. I have a lot more patience and I'm not jumpy and fearful like before. The neurofeedback is like weight lifting for the brain. I was able to get off the Zoloft after only 6 months and I've been sleeping and feeling better than I have in years.

    I think meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises can also calm your nervous system down. But none of this stuff works overnight. It takes time to "strengthen" your nervous system to be able to handle what you're throwing at yourself.

    And yes, alcohol definitely affects me the next day... the more I have, the worse my anxiety and depression gets. The neurofeedback therapist said something about neurotoxins affecting your nervous system and she said it was important not to drink enough to have a bad hangover the next day.

    Good luck,

    CarrieLynn

     
    Old 02-10-2004, 05:24 PM   #7
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    Re: Alcohol/Anxiety

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pattycake
    I also know that there is a physical dependence with long term use of benzo whatever they are, but are the withdrawls potentially dangerous? Life threatening? Or just extremely uncomfortable and physchologically excruciating?

    My other question is, does anyone else feel extra especially stressed out after a night of drinking? ?

    In answer to your questions, yes the abrupt withdrawal of benzodiazepines (including ativan) is potentially dangerous. Seizures are not uncommon when a person who has been taking a large dose stops them suddenly. They really need to be tapered.

    As for alcohol, I think what you've experienced is pretty common. Even a little bit of a hangover will increase your heart rate and your anxiety level. By the way, you do know that combining alcohol with benzodiazepines can be deadly, right?

    Are you careful with your caffiene intake? Caffiene can certainly make your anxiety worse. Do you exercise? It's a great stress-reducer.

     
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