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Can Alcohol Make My Anxiety Worse?

Can Alcohol Make My Anxiety Worse?

Snyder S, Keeler M. Acute effects of disulfiram on anxiety levels of chronic alcoholics. Schmidt NB, Buckner JD, Keough ME. Anxiety sensitivity as a prospective predictor of alcohol use disorders. Longo LP. Non-benzodiazepine alcohol and anxiety pharmacotherapy of anxiety and panic in substance abusing patients. Intention to change drinking behaviour in general practice patients with problematic drinking and comorbid depression or anxiety.

Is alcohol making my anxiety worse?

How alcohol worsens anxiety. Alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which can worsen anxiety. In fact, you may feel more anxious after the alcohol wears off. Alcohol-induced anxiety can last for several hours, or even for an entire day after drinking.

Alcoholic inpatients with anxiety disorders had increased severity of alcohol withdrawal (Johnston et al. 1991). Taken together, the epidemiological and clinical literature describing the relationship between anxiety and AUDs shows that this comorbidity is both prevalent and clinically relevant.

Anxiety and Alcohol Dependence

A final line of support is found in differential comorbidity rates among samples of anxiety and alcohol patients. In a seminal review, Schuckit and Hesselbrock noted that the frequency of alcoholism among anxiety patients was not markedly higher than in the general population, contrary to what would be predicted by the self-medication hypothesis. In contrast, some studies have found greatly elevated rates of anxiety disorders in samples of individuals with alcohol problems (e.g., Kushner et al. 1990). Medications that target a brain signaling system which uses the neurotransmitter serotonin and its receptors perhaps are the safest and most widely used agents to treat anxiety disorders. These agents include the SSRIs, SNRIs, and the serotonin partial agonist buspirone.

Research showsthat dehydration can lead to anxiety, as well as triggering other adverse mood changes. Even if you don’t consume excessive amounts of alcohol, it can still negatively impact your sleep health. You may feel that a nightcap helps you to sleep, but the quality of sleep delivered after drinking alcohol is impaired. When you consume alcohol, this causes your brain to produce high levels of dopamine. You’ll feel good as this chemical floods the brain, but the rush is fleeting. As dopamine levels dip again, feelings of anxiety can replace feelings of euphoria.

The Connection Between Alcohol and Anxiety

We offer treatment plans for mental illness, including detox, residential, outpatient treatment, and family therapy, to help address co-occurring disorders. Our team can also connect you with resources in the area, such as support groups and counseling. We believe everyone can benefit from treatment, so we will work with you to find your best option. You can talk to your doctor about how much alcohol is safe to drink.

If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism and anxiety, it is not too late to ask for help and treatment. Take a giant step toward living the life you deserve and away from Alcohol is not an anxiety treatment; in fact, alcohol misuse and anxiety are co-occurring disorders.