Anxiety disorders come in different shapes and sizes:
- Panic Disorder: extreme fear, or terror, at a random place and time. You might feel a racing heart and shortness of breath.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: extreme anxiety in social situations. You might feel very self-conscious and fixate on others judging you.
- Specific phobias: You have an extreme fear of something specific, like a fear of heights, or spiders.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: You feel excessive worry and tension, all the time, for no reason.
I have had all of these at one time or another.
As a child, I was extremely shy. I never left my parent’s side. I still remember how nervous I was my first day of Kindergarten! Major social anxiety!
In my pre-teen and teen years, the panic attacks started. I didn’t know they were panic attacks at the time. I do know that when they happened, I wasn’t thinking about anything in particular, so it wasn’t my mind. My heart would just start beating faster for know reason. That would lead to a shortness of breath. THAT’S when I would start to worry.
In high school, the panic and social anxiety worsened. I was very self-conscious and still shy. I was very awkward around boys. I also had tics – “a compulsive, repetitive, movement, that is difficult to control.” At that time, it was eye blinking.
Binge Drinking: “the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time”.
I quickly learned that drinking was an easy way out. In my early twenties, the more I drank at a social outing, the less I cared about anything at all. A lot of people with anxiety, myself included, use alcohol to “self-medicate”. I have mentioned before that anxiety disorders are related to an imbalance in neurotransmitters, like Serotonin, Dopamine and Norepinephrine. As it turns out, binge drinking increases the release of Dopamine, which blocks anxiety, stress, fear and insecurities.
If you have high anxiety, you know it is EXHAUSTING! Constantly over analyzing every situation and over thinking every decision gets pretty tiring. If you also have tics, double that! One drink gives you RELIEF! It feels so good to unwind a little, that you have another drink and then another. It also gives you something to do! Instead of standing around, feeling awkward, you can walk to the bar, or the cooler and get a drink! Before you know it, you are DRUNK and feel NO ANXIETY! Awesome right? Wrong!
This would be great except for the fact that you usually make an ass out of yourself and embarrass your family and friends. It is also dangerous, as you put yourself in situations you wouldn’t otherwise put yourself in. There’s also that whole issue with your liver.
Binge drinking is not the solution – take it from someone who has embarrassed herself one too many times! It can be “fun” and relaxing, but it is a sign of an underlying issue – anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc. Don’t ignore it and don’t pretend like it’s not a problem. You know it is.
Have one or two cocktails only. Have water in between each drink. I find an ice water with a lemon wedge works great, or cranberry juice with ice. That way, you won’t have everyone asking, “WHY AREN’T YOU DRINKING?!?” and trying to convince you to have just one.
You will feel amazing that you were able to control yourself and you will love NOT having a hangover the next day! 🙂
Continue my story here: