Suffering from anxiety after drinking alcohol? Well, I know exactly how it feels. When I drank alcohol, I was crippled with anxiety for a very long time.
I don’t think there was a single hangover where I didn’t suffer from some level of anxiety. Some days would definitely be worse than others, but I know exactly what it’s like.
I haven’t drunk alcohol for over 2-years, and my anxiety is infinitely times better than before.
And today, I’m going to share how you can overcome anxiety after drinking alcohol.
For most people that drink alcohol, there’s no need for an expensive rehab or a therapist. Overcoming anxiety after drinking alcohol is entirely possible.
The solution is actually extremely simple. And, it starts with reading this entire blog post! At the end of the blog post, I’ll be sharing 3 steps to overcoming anxiety after drinking alcohol. We’ll look at how to beat it in the short-term and the long-term!
What is Anxiety?
Almost all of us, at some point in our life, have felt anxious about a problem or a stressful situation. For some people, it’s a fleeting, temporary emotion. However, some people end up developing anxiety more regularly.
And, for those of you reading that blog post, you probably feel anxiety after drinking alcohol.
When people suffer from anxiety more regularly, it’s often characterized as “generalized anxiety disorder” (GAD).
GAD can involve intense bursts of anxiety or prolonged periods of anxiety. This can have massive impacts on an individual’s life. GAD can lead to reduced well-being, poor health and it can hurt relationships.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, GAD symptoms can include:
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Trouble with concentration
- Tense muscles
- High level of irritability
There are other types of anxiety disorders with varying degrees of severity.
Panic disorders are more severe than generalized anxiety disorders. Panic attacks can have a debilitating effect on an individual’s life. Symptoms include:
- Overwhelming feelings of fear
- Intense worry about the future
- Loss of sense of control
Social anxiety disorders are another anxiety disorder, which is based on your social interactions. Symptoms can include:
- A persistent fear of being judged
- Struggle to talk to other people
- Worry about social events
- Nausea when around other people
There are other types of anxiety disorders, but what’s the link between alcohol and anxiety?
The Link Between Alcohol and Anxiety
Many drinkers, whether they’re a problem-drinker or not, often drink alcohol to deal with their anxiety issues. I used to do it all the time. During any social situation, I’d always have an underlying sense of anxiety that I’d mask with a drink.
I thought alcohol was giving me confidence, courage, and helping me relieve stress and anxiety. Through taking a First Principles approach to stopping drinking, I now see these beliefs for what they are. However, I was convinced that alcohol was helping me to relieve anxiety.
(If you want to learn more about how I stopped drinking, then click here.)
If we look at the research, we actually learn that alcohol can prolong anxiety – and anxiety after drinking alcohol is amplified.
Research conducted in 2012 by the University of North Carolina School of Medicine also discovered that heavy drinker can lead to increased susceptibility to anxiety problems. They found a connection between alcohol and anxiety on a molecular level.
Anxiety after drinking alcohol is pretty much always increased. But, many drinkers that suffer from anxiety after drinking continue to drink it! What’s going on here?
My Experience With Anxiety After Drinking Alcohol
I have been dealing with anxiety for quite some time. When I drank alcohol, it was a lot worse than it is today. These days, it’s rare I get anxiety. And, if I do get it, I’m much better at dealing with it. This has been improving over time.
Back when I drank alcohol, anxiety would cripple me. If I had a hangover, I’d have waves of anxiety for the next 2-3 days. If something particularly stressful got in my way, it would lead to intense bursts of panic.
It was unbearable and I hated it.
I would get some low levels of anxiety during social situations, and I’d drink to overcome it. Only to suffer from even higher levels of anxiety a few hours later. What a vicious cycle.
As someone who has “been there and done that”, I want to share how I overcome anxiety – especially when it relates to alcohol.
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How To Use First Principles Thinking To Get Control Of Your Drinking
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The First Step To Overcoming Anxiety After Drinking Alcohol
The first step to overcoming anxiety after drinking alcohol is to stop drinking it. Bear with me. I know it sounds obvious. But, it made all the difference in my life.
If you’re new to the website, you’ll know that I say stopping drinking is a walk in the park. But, only when you take the right approach to stop.
I didn’t use AA, willpower, rehabs, therapists – none of it. I took a First Principles approach to understand my problem, and it made stopping drinking very straightforward. I suffer from no stress, no cravings, and no deprivation. It’s entirely possible for you as well.
Stopping drinking is a big topic – in fact, this whole website is devoted to it – and it’s outside of the scope of this blog post. If you want to learn more about actually stopping drinking, I’d recommend checking out:
These blogs and videos will explain the process that I and all of these people went through, to make stopping drinking effortless and enjoyable!
When it comes to alcohol and anxiety, when I drank alcohol, I had no control. I didn’t understand the anxiety and I had very little autonomy over it. These days things are very different. I know how to deal with it in the short-term, and the long-term.
How To Overcome Anxiety in The Short-Term
One of the best ways to overcome anxiety in the short-term is to bring awareness to the present moment.
Learning how to do this helps you deal with anxiety after drinking alcohol extremely well. This is really beneficial in the first few weeks or months of stopping drinking as well.
Sounds cliche, but let me explain how you do this.
When you start to feel a wave of anxiety, you bring awareness to 3 things that you can:
I have no idea where this technique comes from, but it is extremely effective at eliminating anxiety. I actually found it when browsing Quora, and it was a game-changer.
Defeating anxiety in the short-term is definitely easier said than done. You are so focused on the future, or what “what-if”, that you forget about the here and now.
That being said, going through the process of bringing awareness to different things you are sensing is the best thing I have found to deal with this.
I spoke about dealing with anxiety after drinking in this video:
Beating Anxiety in The Long-Term
When it comes to beating anxiety in the long-term, the first step is understanding the root cause.
This took me a long time to understand. But, I eventually figured out that the only time I have high levels of anxiety is when I am sleep deprived.
When I am sleep deprived, a stressful event will send my mind into overdrive. I’m extremely focused on all the ‘what-ifs’. This eventually manifests itself into anxiety and a mild state of panic.
These days, if I’m sleep deprived and I start to feel anxious about something, I first bring awareness to the present moment. I go through each of the senses as we just discussed.
I then try to cut myself some slack. I try my best to understand where the anxiety is coming from and try to let go of it.
I remind myself that I’ll be able to deal with the situation in the morning, and I don’t make any important decisions that day. I try to get a good night of rest, and I usually wake up the following day feeling much better.
As soon as I realize I’m sleep deprived, the level of anxiety is reduced dramatically.
The next thing I did to beat, or at least improve my anxiety in the long-term, was to read a book called A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
This book has given me a totally new level of awareness when it comes to mental and spiritual health. It’s one of the most profound reads ever.
I buy this book for all of the members of the Soberclear program as it was so transnational.
It explained where anxiety comes from in the mind – and how it’s all related to the ego. That book is worth its weight in gold, and I recommend getting started as soon as possible.
Anxiety is a common disorder that affects almost 20% of the adult population, many of which are drinkers.
Dealing with anxiety after drinking is possible – and there are 3 key steps. The first is to stop drinking alcohol using the right approach.
The next is to learn how to deal with it in the short term by bringing awareness to the present moment.
Dealing with it in the long-term involves finding the root cause of the anxiety, and learning where it’s coming from in your mind.
The best way to do that is to read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.