Navigating Anxiety + Your Journey
How is it treated?
Much like depression, anxiety can be treated with several different therapeutic interventions. Therapy, lifestyle changes, and medication can all be powerful tools for overcoming or adapting to anxiety. Group therapy is also a very helpful tool, as is connecting with others who experience anxiety.
With anxiety, it’s important to be able to identify triggers that worsen anxiety or induce a panic attack. Though anxiety isn’t always related to a specific trigger, there are many instances where certain situations and experiences can cause or worsen the experience of anxiety.
How does depression play into alcohol use and discontinuing habitual alcohol use?
As with many mental illnesses and struggles with alcohol, you run into a bit of a chicken or the egg scenario. Many, many people who develop substance use disorders eventually come to the understanding that they’ve dealt with undiagnosed anxiety for some time. Because alcohol works to dampen our central nervous system, it does temporarily help ease symptoms of anxiety like elevated heart rate, irritability, feeling on edge, muscle tension, and inability to fall asleep.
However, we know that alcohol is rocket fuel for anxiety. If you are someone who suffers from anxiety, you may have noticed that you feel more anxious once the effects of alcohol wear off—this is because withdrawal symptoms (even mild) mimic anxiety, alcohol impacts our brain chemistry, and cravings manifest in many of the same sensations as anxiety. These experiences can be incredibly intertwined. While it may feel like alcohol helps anxiety, there are many other treatments that are more effective in both the short and long term. Plus, they won’t make you lose your keys or puke in a cab.
Much like depression and alcohol use, we take all of this information and understand that if we are experiencing anxiety symptoms, this is normal and makes sense when we consider the biological impact of alcohol. Treatment is incredibly helpful for anxiety; you don’t have to suffer in silence.
If you or someone you know has thoughts of self-harm, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
American Psychiatric Association. (2020, October.) What are Anxiety Disorders? https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/anxiety-disorders/what-are-anxiety-disorders
Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (n.d.) Facts and Statistics. https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics#:~:text=Anxiety%20disorders%20are%20the%20most,of%20those%20suffering%20receive%20treatment.
National Institute of Mental Health. (2018, July.) Anxiety Disorders. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtmll
Tempest. (n.d.) Why Drinking Makes Your Anxiety Worse. https://www.jointempest.com/resource/alcohol-and-anxiety