Anxiety and alcohol. Do other people use alcohol to cope with their anxiety?

It's Christmas time and, to cope with social situations, I drink... It's becoming a problem with my partner. When we are out with friends or acquaintances, I am so nervous that I feel like I need a few drinks to get through it. I generally drink too much and end up being drunk and very often sick. I know it doesn't help my anxiety. The next day I get so anxious about what I've done or what I've said that I get panic attacks. The easy answer would be to stop drinking. I'm after some guidance or ways to overcome my anxiety without the need to drink. Thank you.

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  • Hi. Alcohol is a depressive. Yes it is! It does not feel like it when we are drinking and the sense of euphoria we get at the time belies this but it is true. When I was depressed I tried this 'remedy' and was pleased with the result at first. But then it wore off and I had to start drinking again, and again. Not the answer. Felt gradually more depressed. 'The next day you get anxious'. Of course you do, your drinking is counter productive. Peer pressure is very strong, especially among the young, and to be seen not to drink is to be regarded as some sort of spoilsport. The problem is that you will not find much understanding and you will feel pressured into drinking. Can you just have soft drinks? Will your partner understand if you try and explain? It's your life and you shouldn't let others push you into anything that makes you unwell or perpetuates your anxiety. Good luck. jonathan.

  • Maupassant I really understand where you are coming from as I am exactly the same, having a few drinks is like the answer to a prayer.

    Like you I drank to ease the way socially, and I used to be able to consume large amounts and not seem at all drunk but I would feel very bad the next day, sick etc.

    When you say it's become a problem with your partner do you mean that your partner is concerned at the amount you are drinking?

    The good think is that you have recognised the problem with alcohol as you say in your question and are looking for a substitute.

    That's half the battle .......you have realised that in the long run it is causing more problems that it is solving. The hardest part is often making that connection.

    I can't honestly say that there is a very easy or straightforward way to deal with the anxiety but many people do say that counselling or CBT helps them a lot. It will teach you a different way of seeing things and ways to come to terms with the anxiety and to deal with it . There are also some good books on dealing with social anxiety if you look on-line.

    However in the short term .......a few things I do are .......arrive early, it's not so easy to walk into a room full of people. It's also easier to get talking to people when there are not so many people about and you can talk to some of the 'quieter' people or sit with them before it all gets too manic.

    Keep the focus away from yourself by asking questions ......people love to talk about themselves and will think you are an amazing listener which is a great attribute to have so it's one to work on ......it really works.

    If you start to feel overwhelmed say .......I'll give it another 15/20 minutes and then I'll leave. Don't force yourself to stay when you have had enough but don't leave right away either.

    BTW lots of people find social situations difficult ........the majority of people are extraverts but that leaves a lot of us introverts too and we are not party animals :-)

    Given the choice we would rather be at home with the cat but it's possible to get through the times like Christmas when we face social situations with a bit of planning and not expecting too much of ourselves.

    PL

  • Hi! Yes ,I too drank my way through many a social occasion and many a non social occasion too!. I drank to feel normal if that makes any sense. It did to me at the time. I don't drink now but I've been there. Seems an easy option at the time xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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