If you have ever felt symptoms of anxiety, then you know how hard it can be to make it through the feelings with minimal discomfort. You may even have a drink in order to calm your nerves. But does drinking make anxiety worse? The short answer is yes, it definitely can make the symptoms of anxiety worse. While alcohol is a depressant and has the ability to make it appear as though the symptoms are being alleviated, it is a short term solution to a long term problem, and in the long run can exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety and make them worse. Understanding anxiety and the link between drinking alcohol and its effects on the symptoms can be crucial to receiving proper care for these symptoms.
What is Anxiety?
When you begin having feelings of dread, fear or all around uneasiness and potentially begin to sweat, have rapid heartbeat, or begin to feel restless, these could all be symptoms of anxiety. Usually it is a reaction to some form of stress. However, these symptoms can be long lasting and intense, resulting in day to day life interruptions, making it difficult to complete the seemingly easiest of tasks. When anxiety becomes more and more commonly occurring, and affects daily life it could be signs of an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders can cause major interruption to everyday life, they can make going to work or school almost impossible. Often, people turn to alcohol as a means of alleviating the symptoms and being able to complete daily tasks. When used as a means of self medication, drinking can make anxiety worse in the long run.
Symptoms of Anxiety
As previously stated, anxiety is generally a response to stress, or as a response to some real or perceived threat. There are different symptoms associated with anxiety, but generally the symptoms consist of feelings of dread, fear and uncertainty or uneasiness. There may be some racing and anxious thoughts that are hard to control or suppress, making it hard to focus on anything but whatever the stressor is. Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety can include:
- Racing heart
- Shortness of breath
Using substances, such as drinking alcohol can make these symptoms worse and more intense, causing a greater impact to daily life. Masking the symptoms is not treating them, and treating them is the best way to find relief from the anxiousness and nervousness associated with anxiety and anxiety disorders. Seeking help from professionals is the best route to take to prevent exacerbating the symptoms and making anxiety worse.
How Does Alcohol Affect Anxiety?
Drinking can make anxiety worse. That is just how it works. By using alcohol as a means of self medication for the symptoms of anxiety, you can mask the symptoms in the moment. However, once the effects of alcohol begin to wear off, the symptoms can and generally do come back at a heightened level, exacerbating the feelings you were drinking to medicate. This can lead to drinking more and more in order to keep the symptoms at bay. By doing this, you are then at risk for dependence and addiction to alcohol, which can be a whole different monster that you will eventually have to fight off.
Using alcohol as a means of coping with the symptoms of anxiety is an unhealthy way of coping. It will affect your ability to respond to stressors in positive ways that will help rather than harm you. It can also lead to some health concerns outside of anxiety. Drinking not only makes anxiety worse, but it can cause some life altering health conditions to develop.
Addressing the true symptoms of anxiety is the best way to manage symptoms. Alcohol will mask the symptoms, but it will not erase the causes. In fact, drinking will more than likely only worsen the symptoms of anxiety, true relief comes from professional help with addressing the causes and symptoms of the anxiety. There are people trained to help you treat the symptoms, without causing more damage.
Getting Help in South Florida
Suffering from anxiety can be debilitating and make everyday life extremely difficult. Going to work, school, or even just going out for dinner can seem like daunting tasks. Compounding the effects of anxiety by adding alcohol to it can make the symptoms so much harder to endure. It can lead to some even worse effects. If you struggle with anxiety, there is help available to help you regain control of your life. At Neuroscience Research Institute, we help those who suffer with mental health disorders like anxiety to find positive and healthy coping skills so that the impacts of the anxiety on everyday life are less severe.
Our team of professionals is standing by to help you as you navigate the beginning part of your journey to recovery. Contact us today.