Alcoholism and Anxiety-Practical Steps to Recovery

Alcoholism and Anxiety: Beating the Odds

Delivering a speech in a room full of strangers can be an anxiety-inducing experience. As a means to feel more at ease, many people will take a drink or two. Why so? Simple. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which means it works to promote feelings of relaxation. Hence, it is but logical for anxiety and anxiety disorder sufferers to reach for that glass to make the anxious feelings go away. However, as much as alcohol helps calm down raging nerves, it works for a mere short period.

A recent study shows that people who turn regularly to alcohol in order to cope with their anxiety become less and less capable of coping with this anxiety as time passes by. It is because the long-term use of alcohol reduces the anxiolytic function in the brain. With reduced levels of these GABA-benzodiazepine receptors that help reduce anxiety, a person is less able to cope with anxiety. Moreover, with alcohol withdrawal a person is clearly observed to suffer from even greater or more intense form of anxiety symptoms than what they usually experience.

So what then? What should people do to beat the urge to drink in the face of uncontrollable trembling, fast heart beating, difficulty breathing, and profuse sweating when their anxiety attacks?

Decide to Stop

Deciding to stop taking anxiety relief from a bottle can be difficult for an alcoholic. The decision to stop one’s drinking habits does not happen overnight. It takes months, even years of ambivalence whether one really needs to stop taking the only solace one knows to combat anxiety.

But if one totally wishes to let go from such habit, he or she must ultimately decide to be free of it. In the battle of alcoholism, the ultimate change agent is no other than the self alone. No one can fully make an alcoholic change his or her ways if he or she does not make the decision. Hence, the first step to beat alcoholism associated with anxiety is to make the big decision to stop.


The root cause of anxiety is stress ─stress that has become unmanageable and has become unsuccessfully addressed and let out. To avoid this kind of stress from piling up, the very first step to take is to identify these stressors. One should ask him or herself what makes him or her anxious or what things have an unpleasant effect to his or her mood.

After questioning oneself, one should write down all the things he or she have observed so that he or she can address all these things and not miss on one. If watching the news makes one stressed, it is then advisable to switch to another channel or another program with a much more positive approach to news delivery. Lingering in dreadful news about killings, kidnappings, assaults, and more can produce anxiety feelings.

Dump All Bottles Away

To keep oneself away from taking another drinking marathon when anxiety strikes, it is best that one removes all alcoholic drinks from cabinets, cupboards, drawers and other secret stash area. Cleaning the house or the office from this barware can help one from drowning him or herself into the bottle again. Dumping them all out reduces the chance of tempting or reminding one from taking a quick gulp when stress comes knocking on the door.

Take Adequate Sleep

A stressed and exhausted body is much more likely to suffer from anxiety and anxiety disorders. To regain one’s strength and energy, one must make sure to take enough rest and sleep. A sleep of 6 to 8 hours a day must be consciously taken to help the body restore the lost energy from the day before. A well-rested mind and body are ready to charge and face the challenges and problems of the day ahead.

Take Magnesium-Calcium Supplements

To help relax and relieve anxiety, a magnesium-calcium supplement is best taken by anxiety sufferers. Magnesium is an essential mineral that provides a great natural relief against anxiety. It helps restore and maintain proper functioning of the nerves in the central nervous system. However, for this mineral to work optimally and to be absorbed in the body properly, one must also consume calcium supplements.

Get Support

A person battling alcoholism and anxiety is in great need of support. This support can come from family, friends, counselors, healthcare providers as well as from people in one’s faith community. Now more than ever, alcoholics and anxiety sufferers need these people to lean on to when they cannot depend on themselves. Having the support of people who care and understand is an invaluable source of assistance, guidance and encouragement to one’s recovery.

Withdraw from Alcohol Safely

Drinking frequently and heavily to self-medicate one’s anxiety problems can lead to physical dependence on alcohol. And when one decides to withdraw from these liquors, one goes through the unpleasant effects of alcohol withdrawal. This withdrawal encompasses symptoms ranging from mild to severe such as increased anxiety, headache, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, severe vomiting, hallucinations and seizures.

Although there are those who can manage to stop drinking on their own without a doctor’s help, there are those who need medical supervision to withdraw safely and comfortably. These individuals who cannot carry on the task of withdrawing safely need to be hospitalized or admitted to rehab centers so that detoxification is done to prevent medical complications and other symptons of anxiety.

Beating alcoholism and anxiety can be a tough job. The road to recovery is a lifetime process that one has to go through. It begins when one decides to stop drinking, but it does not end when treatment ends. How far one goes in the management of his or her alcoholism and anxiety disorder is up to him or her.

Ryan Rivera believes in the efficacy of natural treatments for anxiety and depression. He knows from experience.

  Please have a look at my own Recovery Stories from Alcoholism and Depression-

 Also please have a look at these Posts relating to My Own Alcoholism/Depression and Addiction Recovery -


  1. This is a very interesting read, thank you. Constant anxiety and fear was the biggest reason I turned to the bottle as my solution. It worked for a while, but eventually a drink led to problem after problem. Fortunately, I have been sober now for 3 years and have healthy and productive solutions to deal with anxiety and fear. I was able to get help through New Life House and if you or a loved one is suffering they may be able to help. Check out their website.

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  4. Alcohol can affect our mood because it can affect the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a feel good brain chemical that when in short supply can cause feelings of anxiety and depression


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