Daughter wants to get sober but terrified of anxiety.

Posted , 11 users are following.

My daughter has been using alcohol to suppress anxiety and depression and is now addicted.  She wants to be sober but is terrified of the anxiety which she feels she will never be free of if sober...its a viscious circle.  She has given up on detoxes and tried nalfemene but so scared of the feelings when sober she gives up quickly.  Has anyone been down this route and has anything to help her?

1 like, 17 replies

17 Replies

  • Posted


    Poor girl - anxiety & depresion can be so debilitating & I can understand her panic at the thought of losing alcohol as a crutch.

    Has she tried talking to her GP about anxiety meds/anti depressants? Worth a thought rather than just trying to go it alone?

    I don't know from your post the extent of the alcohol use but there are also non prescription things she could try a combination of - St Johns Wort in a fairly high dose is effective as a mood lifter & Calms/Quiet Life could help too with anxiety (all available at Boots) if she combined with some counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy. I've tried those & they do work although not an instant fix - I'm using them together with nalmefene & it's going well.

    She's lucky to have a supportive mum too, take care & good luck xxx

    • Posted

      Hi and thank you for your supportive reply, it is comforting to feel less alone with this.  i'm not sure how this forum works but I think if I reply to a correspondent further down the line with more info, you can read it too. I'm glad things are going well with you. x

  • Posted

    First she has to realise that the Alcohol is not helping, it's in Fact making it alot lot worse. She need a level head to be able to deal with issues. With the anxiety and depression, the first thing a Medic will do is signpost your Daughter to Alcohol Recovery before they address her mental health. She says she was Depressed and anxious before the drink, no matter what starts first, you are 90% of the time going to end up with both. Drink offers that immediate numbness that is guaranteed every time if you dring enough. You are not going to get the same reaction off of any other treatment sadly. I have deepest empathy with your Daughter, as I can imagine most of the others on here will have also. Do you mind me asking for some details about your daughter, like her age and how much she is Drinking? And what medication she is on? It seems like she feels stuck in her vicious circle, but there are ways out of it, and nothing about recovery needs to feel like it's a punishment.. Hope to hear from you soon, AL

    • Posted

      Thank you AL and for your empathetic reply.  She does know that acohol is making it worse but settles for the short term fix of feeling better whilst dreading the mornings.      Like I just said to Lisaloves I will post more info further down the line.  So good not to feel alone with this, thank you.
  • Posted

    Both the above answers are correct. There are meds to help with anxiety and depression. It is also important that we know the extent of the drinking and whether she is physically dependent on alcohol, as in she would have withdrawals if she stopped. That needs to be looked at first.

    The only concern, whilst there are many meds to treat her issues, with modern day equivalentsof Valium (mother's little helper), you can be swapping one addiction for another.

    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply.  I could write a book about the history of my daughter's problem but will try to sum up.

      My daughter is 34.  This problem has been going on for about 12 years, we have tried to unpick how it started, usual story of alcohol giving her confidence.  She was prescribed prozac very early on, I think because her doctor didn't realise how much she was drinking and that the anxiety at that stage was from coming off alcohol, she was binge drinking and always had bad two or thee days come down. She is still on prozac and fairly recently mirtazapine.  She has had a long involvement with services and periods up to 6 months sobriety but changed last year to daily drinking.  Currently about 30 units daily from beer.  She was prescribed home detox by services last year but refused on the day out of fear of being without.  Then offered residential detox but only lasted day and a half for same reason, then we tried home detox but same result.  We requested nalfemene and it was agreed, started just after new year but had horrible side effects and she wasn't prepared to go through with it for that reason and because of the fear again. (I am aware that naltraxone has fewer side effects and have been in touch with C3)

      Writing this down I can see why the services say "she is not ready to give up and it has to come from her" and I quite agree but I can't stand by and see her deteriorate. And I am aware I am "enabling" but find it difficult not to.  She has just started seeing a counsellor but that has always been a problem because of the alcohol so don't know where that will go.

      If I could just explain a bit more about the anxiety, it's not just generalised or social, its ever present fear of death, illness, separation from me (I am 73), getting older and being alone herself, and more...

      I hope this all makes sense and look forward to hearing more from you and others, it helps to discuss.


    • Posted

      Oh my, not an easy one this. Well, first off, this "enabling", throw that phrase out of the window. I take it you've either been to AA or been reading up on their stuff. I have never heard anyone on this side of the Atlantic say that the AA helped them. People with problems need help, not left to hit rock bottom.

      There are of course two issues here, the anxiety/fear and the alcohol. The problem with the alcohol, is unlike the medication, in the quantities she is consuming (over the period) she will now be destroying her liver and other internal organs (I speak from experience). 30 units a day is a little over a bottle of spirits or in her case, about a dozen pints. Which I would guess means that she starts early in the day.

      I realise from your comprehensive reply, that you are fairly aware of all the facts and the reasoning. The other issue and that is the core issue, is the anxiety. However, I do want to reiterate the point, alcohol damage could overtake the core problem, if it is not addressed. Alcohol is quite an insidious substance and I have noticed that doctors have started to refer to it as poison these days.

      I take it she is not married, if she has this fear of being alone. I don't wish to be morbid, but does she understand that you will not be around forever?

      The other issue with alcohol, is that it changes the brain and I don't mean when intoxicated. People who become dependent on alcohol, end up thinking about it 24/7 when they are not asleep or intoxicated. It begins to rule their life and takes over from whatever issue made them start drinking, so it can become the problem.

      Do you think that the anxiety is still the core porblem or has alcohol started to overtake it? I must admit, I'm not a great fan of counsellors (I'm probably going to get some stick for saying that), I would much prefer a psychiatrist any day.


    • Posted

      Hello Liz, 30 units a day seems a lot. About 3 bottles of wine per day and certainly more than I used to drink. I honestly do not know what advice to give concerning all the medication since I never took any and still do not. However, RHGB has given a good reply earlier today I think. Tricky situation. Sorry but I do not know what advice to give….Regards Robin
    • Posted

      Thanks RHGB. Hard to know whether alcohol or anxiety are the main problem now they are both so interlinked. She never used to have this degree of anxiety so I'm sure the alcohol makes it worse but she says it's because she is getting older and panicking. Yes she worried about being without me.things deteriorating. Not sure what I am asking for I guess a miracle! Just hoped someone might have been there with the anxiety and would tell me it would get better. Ah well.

  • Posted

    Sorry, also, where has she had detoxes and where was she prescribed nalfemene.
  • Posted

    Dear Liz...i would repeat that drinking is not helping. Also finding out just dependent your daugther is on drinking...Best of luck..Robin
    • Posted

      Thanks Robin and I hope you can read my reply to RHGB.  


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