Anxiety and Sobriety

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Hello all. I am wondering if anyone out there can relate to my story. I have taken 50 mg Sertraline for 15 years for GAD and subsequent depression. Prior to then, I had several trials on antidepressants and would discontinue after getting better only to have anxiety return within months. I made the decision in 2003 to stick with 50 mg of sertraline as a maintenance medication. Life has had its inevitable ups, downs, stresses, but the 50 mg regimen seems to have kept me from becoming incompacitated by anxiety. It really has been a lifesaver. So, to complicate matters, I have for the past 10 years also been a nightly wine drinker. Long story short, my use began to creep up and I was drinking 2-3 glasses/night. My inner wisdom took over and two months ago I made the decision to stop drinking. For the first four weeks I felt really good....less depressed and tired and very energetic. Almost a little too energetic as I now realize I was feeling a chronic low level anxiety that was creeping in. NOTE: I did not experience any withdrawal symptoms and it was actually pretty easy to quit my nightly wine.

By week 5, after a few extra stressors inmy life life presented themselves, my anxiety tilted into more than just mild. IT's been a rough ride and my Gp has increased my dosage to 75 which I've been titrating up to very slowly to avoid the worst of the side effects. i've had a good day or two but then yesterday (day 6 at 75mg) had jitters all day, some negative thinking, worry, and them full on anxiety last night needing a dose of Klonopin (always feel like a failure when I take it) to get back under control.

My therapist has said to me "By stopping drinking, you've changed your brain chemistry." So, I feel bummed out by the idea that in doing something good formyself, my anxiety is out of control for the first time in 15 years. My fear always becomes that this will last forever and never go away.

Any insight, similar stories, or advice to share? Thanks for reading and listening.

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  • Posted

    I had to put down the drink due to it causing my anxiety. One night of heavy binge drinking led to alcohol poisoning and a trip to the Er, so now anytime I drink and get a hangover i associate it with that trip to the Er and i panic. I loved drinking and for months i got really depressed over it. but now the weight of depression as lifted and i was put in a new medicine and all has worked itself out! i would suggest to stick it out, and try to remember that the clouds will clear! they always do! when i am experiencing an anxiety attack, i too feel like it will never end and i will never feel normal again.

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  • Posted

    If your therapist says that your bra1n chemistry has changed wouldn't that suggest a different medication for the new regime rather than just upping the dose you've been on for 10 years?

    I also recently stopped drinking after being a moderate to heavy. daily drinker all my life. I'm on Mirtazipine and Pre Gabalin and had no side effects. Maybe it's just SSR'is?

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  • Posted


    I have also suffered with chronic Anxiety and Depression on and off for about 9 years.

    During that time I have been prescribed most SSRI's Diazepam, Zopiclone, Propranolol, Trazodone amongst many others, I am currently on Paroxatine.

    It's hard to find the right medication as our Anxiety ebbs and flows.

    I too drink a glass of wine every now and again to release my mind for a while as a natural medication.

    Maybe if you just cut down the wine rather than cutting it out alltogether you will find benefit?

    Maybe mindfulness and / or meditation will help to calm your mind.


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