Tag Archives: alcohol addiction

What You Need To Know About Alcohol and Anxiety.


Let’s face it, if giving up the bottle was as easy as outlined in my last post, my job here would be done,  we could focus on other important things,  maintain sobriety, and live productive, fulfilled lives. Over the next several weeks, the goal is to offer strategies to help us thrive and survive the world of Alcoholism. Do you drink because you are anxious and stressed? Some of my clients often say “I  drink to relax, it calms my anxiety, relieves stress, and helps me sleep” On the other side of the coin, have you noticed you tend to me more aggravated after drinking? 

TV commercials encourage you to have a drink to relax. Superbowl is one such occasion, we are inundated with beer commercials. However, the relationship between alcohol and anxiety can be more complicated. Many adults can safely drink in moderation. For others, alcohol may cause anxiety or aggravate pre-existing conditions.

There are several reasons why alcohol tends to disturb your peace of mind. Embarrassing yourself at an office party may be an obvious danger, but there’s also a molecular explanation. Alcohol causes changes in your brain chemicals, including gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) that’s involved in regulating anxiety.

Your brain adjusts to the sedating effects of alcohol but may have trouble balancing itself again when your blood alcohol content starts to fall. That could leave you feeling more anxious than when you started, and that uneasiness may last for a day or more. Lifestyle changes and professional help can make a big difference if alcohol and anxiety are disrupting your life. Learn what you can do to turn things around.

Tips for Drinking in Moderation

Prolonged heavy drinking often contributes to anxiety. The CDC recommends limiting yourself to one drink a day for women and two for men on the days you do drink.

  1. Plan ahead. Decide what you’re going to drink before you get started. Maybe you’ll skip wine with dinner, so you can have a glass of port afterwards.
  2. Slow down. Sip your Margherita. Order a glass of water in between if you consume more than one alcoholic beverage.
  3. Eat food. Filling up on food allows your body to absorb alcohol more gradually. Fats and proteins are especially useful for slowing the process down. On the other hand, skip the salty snacks that will make you thirstier and more dehydrated.
  4. Enjoy other activities. If you’re used to bar hopping on date nights, go for a hike or visit a science museum instead. Spend your leisure time working on hobbies rather than drinking beer while watching TV.
  5. Resist social pressure. Rehearse what to say if someone asks why you’re turning down a drink. Let your family and friends know you’re trying to cut back, if that is comfortable for you.
  6. Take time off. Celebrate Dry January or the abstinence days of your choice. Taking a break from alcohol gives your body and mind time to recover.

Other Tips for Coping with Anxiety

Using alcohol to manage anxiety is likely to backfire. Replace cocktails with the following strategies, that are safer and much more effective.

  1. Take sensible risks. Avoiding things that scare you may be adding to your anxiety. Facing your fears teaches you that you’re strong enough to handle life’s challenges. Start with small projects and work your way up.
  2. Get enough sleep. You’re more resilient when you’re well rested. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of high-quality sleep each night.
  3. Eat healthy. Your diet can help you to relax. Use foods rich in fiber to stabilize your blood sugar. Experiment with foods high in certain minerals, like leafy greens for magnesium and egg yolks for zinc.
  4. Exercise regularly. Working out is a great way to use up nervous energy and benefit your mood.
  5. Seek help. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues, affecting almost 20% of the adult population. Search for therapists who have experience treating anxiety and substance abuse issues. You may need to target both areas in order to avoid relapses.

If you’re struggling with anxiety, a glass of wine may relax you in the short term, but it’s still important to deal with underlying issues. Adopt healthy habits for managing stress and talk with a professional if you need more help.

You Your Success,

Juan

Battling The Bottle.


Did you know September is National Recovery Month?In honor of this, I’d like to use it as a platform to bring more awareness to the continue struggle with Alcoholism that so many of my clients face.

Are you, or someone you love struggling to quit drinking? Does quitting seemed like a monumental endeavor that you will never accomplish? What if you took it day by day, and celebrate the small victories? This month, I hope to share strategies and tips with my fellow readers. I work with clients who struggle with this and many other addictions. I have witnessed first hand, the devastating effects this addiction has on family, friends and loved ones.  So let’s dive in.

An estimated 6.5 million adults took part in Dry January in 2021. If you’ve missed out on making it one of your new year’s resolutions, you can still celebrate a similar occasion any time of year. While some adults need to avoid alcohol completely, others may prefer a more gradual approach. For them, a British charity group helped start a movement in 2014 to quit drinking for a month after the winter holidays. Many participants say that it has helped them to transform their relationship with alcohol.

Look at what a month without margaritas, or your drink of choice can do for you.

Benefits of Giving Up Alcohol for a Month

Clinical research on Dry January is very limited, but the initial results are promising. Even short-term abstinence can have positive effects on your overall health and wellbeing.

  1. Sleep well. You’ll probably wake up feeling more refreshed. Alcohol interferes with the quality of your sleep, so this is one of the most common and quickest results.
  2. Feel healthier. There can be significant health benefits. One study found that a month off alcohol decreased blood pressure by 5% and lowered diabetes risk by 30%. There were also large decreases in blood growth factors linked to certain cancers.
  3. Lose weight. It’s easy to lose track of how many calories you drink. You may wind up slimmer without even trying to eat less.
  4. Drink more responsibly. The big question is whether a month without alcohol will lead to lasting changes. According to one survey, Dry January participants drank less frequently and drank less per day for months afterwards.

Tips for Quitting or Cutting Back on Drinking

As you might expect, Dry January fans use many of the same methods that can help anyone to curb their alcohol consumption. Listed below are a few examples of proven strategies.

  1. Pick a date. Having specific goals and a timeline will help you to feel more committed and accountable. Maybe you’ll want to join the crowd in January, or maybe another month is more feasible for you.
  2. Cope with triggers. Be prepared for situations that tend to make you want to drink. Suggest going to a movie instead of visiting a bar on date nights. Relax after work with a walk in the park rather than sitting down with a glass of wine.
  3. Seek support. Ask others for the help you need. Let your family and friends know what you’re doing and what they can do to make it easier.
  4. Manage peer pressure. Rehearse how you’ll respond in situations where others may encourage you to drink. If someone refuses to respect your choices, you may want to limit your interactions with them at least temporarily.
  5. Prepare for relapses. What if you give in to temptation at a wedding or a barbecue? Learn from the experience and give yourself credit for getting back on track the next day.
  6. Stay busy. You’re less likely to miss alcohol if you keep your mind and body occupied with other activities. Spend more time at the gym or working on hobbies. Take a course at your local community college or volunteer at a food bank.
  7. Practice self-care. Maybe you’ll feel inspired to try other healthy lifestyle changes. Eat more vegetables and start a daily self-care practice.
  8. See your doctor. Quitting alcohol for a month is safe for most adults. However, if you’re dependent on alcohol, you’ll need medical care to help. Your doctor can help you understand your options and provide you with resources.

Giving up drinking for a month could be the start of a healthier relationship with alcohol. Let it encourage you to drink in moderation or seek professional help if alcohol is disrupting your relationships and the quality of your life. For more information on recovery, please visit this US Government Website

To Your Success,

Juan