The common perception is that an alcoholic beverage is a prescription for reducing tension and stress. Sure, alcohol rightfully is labeled as a depressant. This would lead one to assume that it would always function as a method of relaxation.
However, alcohol, especially when we abuse it, can have the opposite effect. Alcohol abuse can actually increase stress and anxiety. When alcohol is abruptly removed from someone suffering from alcoholism, dangerous panic attacks can ensue.
Often, alcohol withdrawal is characterized by intensified levels of heightened anxiety. So, what causes this unhealthy, anxious reaction for an alcoholic when they suddenly stop? In addition, how long does this heightened anxiety and alcohol withdrawal last?
Alcohol and Anxiety
You see all these enticing advertisements that boast of alcohol as the ultimate pathway to relaxation. For people who are impervious to abusing drugs or alcohol, they may be able to consume the perfect amount of alcoholic beverages to relax.
However, what happens when you choose to drink in excess? Alcohol can make stress and anxiety worse. There is also a strong possibility that the drinks you hoped would relax you will actually trigger anxiety so strong you experience panic attacks.
It is very common for people who suffer from mild anxiety to turn to alcohol as a way to self-medicate or relax. Gradually over time, one drink to relax becomes two, and then three, and then what started as an innocent attempt to reduce stress becomes dangerous.
Now you have reached a point where the desired objective creates problems that compound upon one another. Alcohol lowers your blood sugar levels, a physical condition that can make you feel anxious.
Once you cross that fine line on too many drinks, you become dehydrated. Dehydration is another physical problem that can worsen anxiety. Your body now thinks you need another drink to “calm your nerves”.
Now your heart rate increases gradually, further increasing the physical triggers to feel anxious and stressed. What started out as an attempt to reduce your level of stress has now put you on a downward spiral that actually makes everything worse.
When you take someone who already has a tendency to be stressed and anxious, instead of helping, alcohol pushes them to dangerous limits. You start drinking to feel less anxious, which makes you more anxious, so you drink even more to compensate.
The next thing you know, you have a serious drinking problem. All of a sudden, the self-desired cure for stress and anxiety turns into a beast that makes everything worse. You are now an anxious alcoholic.
Your stress and anxiety become worse. If you happen to conclude that you need to either reduce your level of drinking or stop altogether, now you trigger alcohol withdrawal. This is a dangerous jumping off point for an alcoholic. You need help.
The worst part about the relationship of alcohol and anxiety is that individuals who use alcohol to deal with their nervousness get caught in a cycle – they use alcohol, which increases their anxiety, and then they drink more to deal with that increased anxiety.
But happens when you abruptly stop drinking? Shouldn’t the heightened anxiety and the problems it causes just go away? Unfortunately, the opposite may happen. Let’s look at the problems of heightened anxiety and alcohol withdrawal and how long they can last.
Alcohol Withdrawal and Anxiety
You may know it as a hangover. For many problem drinkers, it’s an uncomfortable period that results from having a few too many drinks. However, for an alcoholic, especially if you struggle with anxiety, it becomes dangerous.
Hangovers produce uncomfortably physical problems. The biological changes your body is forced to endure can enhance anxiousness, plus cause hallucinations and dangerous panic attacks.
The heavier you drink, the worse these problems can be. Alcoholics who abruptly dry to erase alcohol from their lives can experience withdrawal symptoms that become life-threatening. The result can trigger a dangerous situation for you or your friends and loved ones.
The results of alcohol withdrawal can be so intense they trigger violent seizures and horrific hallucinations. Even if you’re not prone to anxiousness, the physical toll of alcohol withdrawal can trigger serious panic attacks.
While very dangerous, the physical withdrawal symptoms from alcohol will eventually subside. However, the danger of reoccurring panic attacks, even if you try to stop drinking on your own, can happen more and more often.
What began as a seemingly innocent solution to stress and anxiety can turn into a problem that makes everything worse. You drink more to relax, but you relax less. So, you try to drink more to compensate. Before long, you’ve entered a point of seemingly no return.
But there is a solution. That solution is recovery. Because of the dangerous risks of heightened anxiety and alcohol withdrawal, you should never try to stop drinking by yourself. The threats surrounding alcohol withdrawal are why there are medically supervised detox facilities.
Alcohol withdrawal, especially when combined with heightened anxiety can be life-threatening. If you think you have a problem with alcohol, you need to seek professional guidance. Pick up the phone today. There is a wonderful journey out of the chaos. It is recovery. Stop feeling anxious and make the call today at 833-820-2922, because tomorrow may be too late.