Alcohol is a substance that should be avoided at all costs if you’re consumed with generalized anxiety and experience panic attacks from time to time. Firstly, let’s look at the reasons WHY I and many others may run to that fresh pint of beer from time to time:
1) Alcohol was a temporary retreat from my ‘WHAT IF’ thinking that kept me in a cycle of panic and fear.
2) Alcohol was also a temporary retreat from my physical anxiety symptoms that again kept me in a cycle of fear and worry.
3) Alcohol gave me a chance to be that outgoing, untouchable person that easily walked with confidence, mingled with others, and had no sign of social anxiety disorder whatsoever.
For those few hours while I was downing alcoholic beverage after beverage I was unstoppable, I was free and I loved that feeling. It was my ‘vacation time’ away from an anxiety disorder and helped me rekindle my relationships with others that were quickly going the wrong way because social anxiety tends to do that to a person. It was also a reminder of who I once was, and that in itself was magical, boy did I ever miss the confident, fearless Dennis from what seemed like my past life. But with every joyful experience that alcohol gave me in my ‘vacation’ from an anxiety disorder, in the long run it destroyed me slowly and here is how it did that:
1) The symptoms of anxiety hit back what seemed like tenfold not only the next day, but for almost a week following my night of drinking.
2) The resulting dehydration and low blood sugar levels contributed to the cycle of panic which forced me into a corner, and didn’t allow me to converse with others because the action of ‘checking in’ consumed my every second.
3) I continued to build habits of running away instead of facing things. I would do anything to avoid what I was feeling, avoid more symptoms of anxiety, avoid more thoughts that spiralled out of control, all so I could again AVOID a full blown panic attack, or worse (in my mind).
4) The anticipation of what I was going to feel for the following week after just a few alcoholic drinks made me continuously ‘fear the worst,’ which then followed me into other situations in life. It was a constant cycle of fear.
Now, if you’re like I was and are a social drinker, and don’t want to COMPLETELY give up having a beer here and there, then I want to give you a simple tip that will help build some confidence for you even if symptoms of anxiety or anxious thoughts appear in the morning. This will lead to building some momentum which can take you out of the cycle of fear once and for all as it has done for me. My solution came to me after talking to many professional tennis players that experienced fear of losing tennis matches, and what they said was so simple and worked very effectively, and the solution was STRENUOUS EXERCISE. I know what you’re thinking, with all these symptoms of anxiety and a panic attack right around the corner, how in the world will I be able to focus and follow through with strenuous exercise? My answer to you comes by thinking about what you will gain from this new habit of looking fear in the eyes, and being able to fearlessly have that social beverage with others without running for cover in the mornings following, specifically these solutions are for you the sufferer of generalized anxiety and panic!
1) Increases control of your blood sugar
2) Reduces Stress
3) Proves to yourself that fear is delusion and what you fear most will not come true no matter how bad your sensations of panic and anxiety get
4) Reduces feelings of depression
5) Increases lung capacity
I could go on forever about the benefits of strenuous exercise in response to mental and physical discomfort. Twenty minutes is all you need, but you must keep a 70 to 80 percent pace (taking breaks of course when needed, but not for too long). You’re going to begin to forget that you once had an anxiety disorder, and build a habit that you can take with you for the rest of your life, not just those mornings with a hangover. You MUST undertake this new routine upon waking in the a.m. for at least 3 weeks, and also make time to implement this after evenings where you haven’t drank at all and you will reap the benefits and will overcome your fears related to anxiety and panic attacks once and for all – trust me.