Anxiety and alcohol

I have suffered with anxiety my entire life. When bad things happen in my life like a death of a loved one I immediately turn to drinking to calm my anxiety. I was in the hospital for 6 days so Psychiatrist could change my medications. I also attend AA meetings for my drinking. I am on 50 mg of Zoloft with little relief. I go back to Psychiatrist on Friday. I exercise, take vitamins, work full time. Can anybody discuss what medications work for them especially if alcohol is your problem as well. Thanks!

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  • Hello. You ask an unanswerable question.

    What drug is going to help an alcoholic with anxiety?

    Alcohol is a drug, and I am so glad you go to AA meetings. But do you see, you stopped using one drug (alcohol) for anxiety, and substituted another drug (Zoloft) for it.

    And you find that Zoloft isn't helping your anxiety.

    Please let your doctor know you're an addict (alcohol). You don't want yet another addictive drug to be prescribed.

    You are attending AA meetings, but don't say how often, if you have a sponsor or whether you are doing step work. AA and NA both focus on how to learn to live a life without drugs in spite of anxiety, depression, anger, etc., all the challenges life throws at us.

    It is not my place or intent to promote AA or NA. (And no...I don't work for either. lol)

    But you asked an important question, and while no one can answer it, AA or NA have a proven records in helping addicts.

    Staying clean and sober is not easy, but both programs are free and offer the support and guidance you need, if you actually work the programs.

    At least one meeting a day would not be too many for you in your current situation. This is not your first rodeo, but I hope it is the one that helps you.

    There always seems to be someone in the world at all times of the day or night reading and replying to posts on this venue. Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.

  • Thank you for your response. What I failed to mention is I am currently under the care of a Psychiatrist and he is very well aware of my alcohol addiction. Zoloft is a long term antidepressant that helps treat anxiety/depression. I've had bad anxiety my whole life. I am going to meetings everyday. My anxiety is why I have picked up a drink on and off since January after my Mom died. I did have 7 years sobriety but my anxiety seems to increase my chances of relapsing. Just want to get rid of the knot in my stomach both day and night.

  • Oh, I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. And you are still in grieving, no wonder your anxiety is so strong.

    Am so glad you are familiar with AA and have a daily meeting to attend. Hard to pick up that white chip again after 7 years of sobriety, but hope your home group understands what is going on with you and you have a strong sponsor.

    Since your doctor is aware of your recovery, I'm sure you must have a good one, as he's being careful in what he prescribes for your anxiety..(Zoloft was not effective for me years ago) Perhaps he'll think of a way to increase its effectiveness with combining it with another antidepressant or other medication to stop the escalation of your anxiety.

    (I know that sounds odd, but a low dosage of Welbuton was added to my Xanax and cymbalta taken upon rising in the morning before my anxiety could hit me hard. )

    Can't chew the Cymbalta, but I actually do that with Xanax and Welbuton to get them into my system ASAP. About two months ago that combination in the morning removed that hand sqeezing the inside of my chest that I carried without stop for years.

    We are all so different. I never really drank, but I'm "vertically challenged".

    You can't change the fact you're an alcoholic, but I can never change the fact that I am short (5'3")lol.....oh, come on, that was a good shot at humor.You're a tough audience.

    Back to your original question of what drug can an alcoholic take to stop the anxiety....I guess maybe a number of them if you can resist the temptation of taking more than prescribed....that's the reason I suggested that maybe a combination of several in modest dosage might help. I have to really watch that carefully....my husband and I keep our rx's in a lock box to prevent theft by one of his nephews, or over use by me if I am having a "break through" (of anxiety) happening. We just put out one day's meds every night.

    It has taken a few years for my doctor to finally hit the correct mix of meds..but I'm dealing with PTSD that includes nightmares...(Very large truck hit me and exploded)... bit different than your situation. I volunteer at a NA daily noon meeting at a church, so am somewhat familiar with the AA and NA programs.

    I'll be glad to check my old daily meds diary to share what seemed to help and what didn't.

    Before I go, would like to share this with you. In my head, I envision you as part caribbean, but slender with mid shoulder length straight Asian hair, walking away with your back to the photographer holding a very large open black umbrella over your shoulder crossing a street in London, England.

    My background is in the theatre arts, art therapy and law. Sometimes a "scene" appears in my head. My husband thinks I'm just a bit too visual in nature.:)

  • Thank you for making me smile. I am slender but I'm German/Irish and my hair is blonde. I finally accept I am alcoholic and have been attending AA meetings, counseling and possibly an anxiety support group that will begin in three weeks. You say Zoloft didn't work for you. Dr just raised my dosage to 100mg plus .5 klonopin twice a day. I was on Lexapro for years until it stopped working. When it comes to the right medication it's such a crap shoot. I feel like a guinea pig. I'm feeling a little better today but the anxiety is always there. The problem with me is I have no appetite. I have to force myself to eat. I also went back to the gym which helps. I went back to work and that also helps. Meditation is too difficult for me , I actually get anxiety while doing it. Lol.

  • Helloooooo! So good to hear from you.

    Well, so I just got the hair and complexion wrong. Was I also wrong about London and the large umbrella? My mind's ego won't be hurt....much. lol

    By the way, you're not a guinea pig, you are a unique gazelle. No one else on earth has your chemistry, brain or body. That's why it takes so much time and patience to hit the right combination of medications for you.

    You seem as though you are very much on the right track, active in the right organization, working, doing the gym.....and I have a difficult time with the meditation route, too. How in the he-- can one meditate when the anxiety is running a marathon inside one's self. But maybe that will come in time.

    Your mother would be so proud of you.

    The lack of appetite is not uncommon with anxiety. As you are slender, please try to take in enough protein to maintain muscles, and to avoid the quick easy processed foods....that's hard. (I can't believe I actually drink 8oz. of something called 'muscle milk' in the morning for protein because I just can't stand to look at food that time of day...yeck.)

    Thank you again for remembering my request to let us know how you are doing. That means a great deal. You have a great life to live! :)

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