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alcohol and anxiety | Los Angeles Therapy Network

It’s no secret that alcohol and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. For many people, alcohol is a way to self-medicate and escape from anxious thoughts and feelings. However, this only leads to a vicious cycle of alcohol dependence and anxiety.

Alcoholism is a serious problem in the United States. According to the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, an alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition that doctors diagnose when a patient’s drinking causes distress or harm. An AUD can range from mild to severe and is defined by a problematic pattern of alcohol use that involves symptoms like tolerance (needing more alcohol to feel the same effects), withdrawal (experiencing physical and mental symptoms when not drinking), drinking in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than intended, and struggling to cut back or stop drinking alcohol altogether.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorder in the United States, affecting 40 million adults over the age of 18. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders, while common, is a serious mental health conditions that can have a crippling effect on a person’s day-to-day life.

There is a strong overlap between alcohol and anxiety, as alcohol is a common coping mechanism for people who suffer from these mental health disorders. According to the ADAA, alcohol is often used as a way to self-medicate in order to cope with the anxieties that people feel. Let’s take a closer look at the effects of these two problems.

Effects of Alcohol and Anxiety

There are a number of effects that occur from using alcohol while dealing with anxiety problems. Alcohol consumption can actually worsen anxiety symptoms. alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which means that it slows down the messages going between the brain and the body. This can lead to feelings of relaxation and calmness, but it can also lead to problems with coordination, memory, and judgment.

For people who suffer from anxiety disorders, alcoholism will only exacerbate their issues and, in turn, lead to more physical health problems, such as liver damage, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. alcohol also interacts with many medications used to treat anxiety disorders, which can lead to additional problems.

Symptoms of Alcohol and Anxiety

There are a number of symptoms that can occur when alcohol and anxiety are present at the same time, problems that can be even life-threatening. These symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they can include :

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain

Alcohol also interacts with many medications used to treat mental health disorders, which can lead to additional problems. If you are using some sort of medication to manage your anxiety, alcohol can make the medication less effective or even cause dangerous side effects.

Some people use alcohol as a way to self-medicate their problems, but this is not an effective long-term solution. Not only does alcohol not actually help to reduce their symptoms, but it can also make them worse. In fact, using alcohol to relieve anxiety will only put you in a more precarious situation.

If you find that you’re drinking alcohol to cope with your mental health disorders, it’s important to seek professional help. There are many effective treatment options for both alcohol dependence and anxiety disorders. Treatment can help you get to the root of your problem and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Find Treatment Today

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol dependence and anxiety, know that you are not alone. There are many resources and treatments available to help you on the road to recovery.

There are a number of different treatment options available for alcohol dependence and mental health disorders. Some people may benefit from attending Alcoholics Anonymous or another 12-step program. Others may find individual therapy just as beneficial as a program like AA.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another popular treatment option for alcohol dependence and anxiety disorders. CBT can help you identify and change the negative thought patterns that contribute to your alcohol abuse and overarching mental health problems.

If you are struggling with alcohol dependence and anxiety, there are many treatments available to help you on the road to recovery. Don’t hesitate, to call our team today at (833) 604-1287.

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