Alcohol and anxiety

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How can I break this cycle. I'm constantly anxious and have been drinking heavily for years. At least half a bottle of spirit. I have started a new job but am now drinking in the morning to calm my nerves and in the evening to get to sleep. I don't know how to break this cycle. On my days off I drink more to the point that I'm too intoxicated to leave the flat. The only days I don't drink is when I'm too physically I'll. I feel my life is a mess I've lost partner, my child, my family. I'm losing my looks and my health now and have no confidence. Has anyone found something that really works? My Dr won't give me antabuse.

0 likes, 17 replies

17 Replies

  • Posted

    Detox/rehab sounds like your only real option. I had to, I was drinking just like you, & sneaking miniature bottles @ work. Horrible cycle.

  • Posted

    How refreshing to hear of a doctor who won't prescribe antabuse.  Usually, they are almost exclusively prescribing this, despite its appallingly low success rate.

    The main issue with antabuse is that it does nothing to help manage cravings.  This means that people whiteknuckle it whilst on the medication and then when things get too bad, they either drink on the medication and make themselves very, very ill (could be fatal) or they stop taking the medication, whiteknuckle a few more days until it is out the system and then continue drinking.

    What kind of help and support did your doctor suggest instead? 

    There are other medications that have much higher success rates than antabuse because they work to gradually reduce those cravings, which then enables you to work on other issues without the constant screaming to drink in your help. 

    If your doctor suggested that you take medication to help you detox off the alcohol without any risk of seizures, then you can take those as prescribed and stop drinking.  Or, if your doctor is comfortable that you are not at risk of alcohol withdrawal effects, you can ask for a medication that will help you gradually reduce your drinking until you have reduced to zero.

    So, much depends on what your doctor actually proposed instead of the antabuse?


    • Posted

      They sent me to a local substance abuse organisation and prescribed antidepressants. The problem is I was working full time so couldn't make the daytime sessions also you had to be sober to attend . They would breathalyse you. antidepressants made me tired all the time. The main thing was neither stopped me drinking. I went to rehab 2008 at my own expense, seen numerous counsellors, even a hypnotherapy and church.

    • Posted

      Ah yes, Alcohol Recovery Charities or ARCs.

      Yes, because you have an alcohol problem, they expect you to be lying around all day, doing nothing and able to pop in at any time. They also expect people with an alcohol problem to always be sober - if that was the case then you wouldn't need to attend.

      To be honest, they are usually more interested in heroin users and most of the posters on the wall are for drugs not alcohol.

      What sort of rehab did you go to in 2008, was it residential? The problem I find with counsellors, is that they just don't understand the alcohol issue and how to deal with it. Drinking diaries is a favourite of theirs.

    • Posted

      Well, alcohol doesn't work well with anti-depressants and can nulify their benefits, so that isn't particulary good.

      Sadly, the entire medical industry seem to be sticking to the 'old' methods, such as counselling and hypnotherapy, neither of which do the slightest thing to help you weaken those strengthened pathways in the brain that is causing your cravings. 

      Please read RHGB's comment as he tells you of the two medications that are evidence-based, clinically proven, and have really good success rates when used compliantly.

      Both are prescription-only in the UK, and the NHS guidelines are usually instructing doctors to not prescribe but refer patients to alcohol services.  If you wish to PM me the town and county you live in (don't put it publically on here) I will then look up your local NHS prescribing guidelines to see if you might be able to get it from your doctor or if you do need to see a prescribing doctor at the alcohol recovery service.

    • Posted

      I should just add that I am not putting down methods that can help you in your recovery, such as counselling or whatever, BUT the failure rate is very, very high with these treatments on their own simply because it's hard to work through issues such as anxiety when you are being driven up the wall by cravings and urges to drink.

      They work much better in conjunction with medications that are proven to help weaken those pathways in the brain that causes your cravings.

    • Posted

      Yes it was residential,12' step programme. And bloody expensive. Problem with drink diaries, counselling and all that is you have to be sober to do it or even benefit. I wish I could sleep for a month I just wake up dried out but I find I need drink to cope and end up in a mess all over again.

    • Posted

      Did they not detox at the beginning of the programme?

      By that I mean something like with diazepam. This stops all the shakes, nausea, headaches, anxiety that you get when you suddenly stop drinking?

      This allows you to stop drinking and not suffer any side effects. It can take up to a week, 2 - 3 days for some. It's the whole point of going to rehab.

    • Posted

      We hear this all the time about doctors not knowing about anti-craving medications.

      Put it this way, Selincro was officially approved on the NHS to help reduce someone's drinking consumption by weakening cravings right back in November 2014!   It was all over the news.  Your doctor was either not interested in watching the news or reading the newspapers, on holiday, or living under a rock to not even be aware of it.

      If he/she looked up the list of medications approved for use in alcohol problems on their computer, they would see there are 4 medications approved in the UK - naltrexone, nalmefene (Selincro), Acamprosate (campral) and antabuse.

      They would have received memos, and guidelines, from their NHS bosses.

      And yet we hear this all the time.  They are either too incompetent to spend 2 minutes looking it up on their computers, or too lazy and just think that because someone has an addiction issue, they are just to be referred to alcohol recovery services - next patient please!!


    • Posted

      Yes they did detox me but all I thought about was alcohol the whole time I was there. Bit by bit I went back to my old habits. In the last 9 years the longest iv been sober is 3 months at a time. I just become obsessed with drinking.
    • Posted

      Okay, there are two ways to deal with this, Nalmefene/naltrexone - hard to get the latter or acamprosate brand name Campral.

      Joanna is the expert on the former, so I will leave her to talk to you about that. Campral is taken after a detox, when you are no longer alcohol dependent, in fact it should really be taken whilst on detox or the very latest, immediately after your detox.

      For the majority of people, it resets the brain, it will stop you thinking about alcohol and you will be able to go about your life. The craving will go and you will wonder what all the fuss is about. You will be able to walk past a pub or off licence without being drawn it, it just won't feature on your radar.

      I speak from personal experience. The first time I detoxed, I was back on the alcohol within 2 - 3 weeks, but the second time, I had done my research and had the Campral lined up.

  • Posted

    You don't want antabuse it is archaic and almost Victorian, it is dangerous and has no place in modern society.

    I gather by your use of words that you are UK based. There are two medications that work, they work in different ways. They are Selincro and Campral.

    They have both worked for people here and if they have not stopped their drinking, they have brought it down to a manageable level that alcohol no longer interferes with their life and their health has improved.

    If you are willing to look at medication, there are plenty of people here (including me) who will explain how they work and how best to get them prescribed.

    Some people reject medicine and believe they lack willpower and moral fibre if they resort to that. The way to view it is, alcohol is a drug and has altered you, the medication just looks to alter you back to a normal state so that alcohol doesn't rule your life.

    • Posted

      Yes I am in the UK. I have heard of Naltrexone but it's only used in UK for drug addicts under supervision. My Dr hadn't heard of it or anything else that helps with cravings. My more immediate concern is how to overcome the terrible comedown after my worst binges and how to live a "normal" life.

    • Posted

      I think you're think of Naloxone which is for heroin users. Naltrexone is for alcohol but it is hard to get in the UK, Nalmefene/Selincro is the sister drug you are more likely to get prescribed.

      The only thing to help the 'come down' are benzos a sort of Valium, but that wouldn't help your long term problem.

    • Posted

      You are both partly correct.

      Naloxone is used to bring people out of opiate overdoses.

      Naltrexone is used for opiate addicts to take every day as relapse prevention - they know that they will not get high if they take opiates with naltexone in the system.

      In some parts of the UK, naltrexone is prescribed for drinkers 'off-license' and in other parts of the UK, local guidelines encourage it's use for drinkers.

      All depends what someone's local NHS has decided the best way to utilise the medication in their area.

    • Posted

      I would agree on your opinion of Antabuse... I took it almost 30 years ago, I  feel  it had been  little researched  then . I drank on it and nearly killed myself.. Later still taking it I  became pregnant... the whole Antabuse thing was  a nightmare for me as it  was then revealed bymy own research  that it had  only been looked at  in 5 pregnancies at the time.

      The new medications are so good and all this time on it now seems there is something that actually works for me and of course many many others out there  

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