Many people with anxiety disorders self-medicate with alcohol. Does this mean that alcohol works?
The answer is a definite “No”. Unfortunately, by the time they realize this they already have become alcoholics. Why does this happen?
This happens because alcohol tricks them into “the alcohol trap” and makes them powerless and in constant need for more and more alcohol.
How does alcohol trick so many people? In the beginning an individual that (for example) suffers from social phobia needs few beers to relax and interact with other people. A Few months later that same individual now needs five beers to relax and as the time passes he or she needs more and more alcohol to get the same effect.
If you know about the relationship between alcohol and anxiety it is very unlikely that you will fall into “the alcohol trap”. This is why it is very important to educate yourself about alcohol and anxiety if you or your loved one suffers from anxiety disorder.
Alcohol can reduce some symptoms of anxiety and make you believe it is helping you with your disorder but this is far from the truth. The only thing alcohol does is enslave you and take control over your life. However it does this slowly and in a very “smart” way so that it is difficult to see what is happening until it is too late to prevent it.
“Fore as long as I can remember I have suffered from the unexplained needs to do stupid things and to repeat them for a specific number of times. Those needs are changing as I’m getting older but they are always there. For example when I was a child I always had to arrange my toys in a specific order and at certain time (just before going to bad).
Now I’m 22 and one of the things I must do whenever I see someone is to take three steps back and say their name seven times out loud. Also whenever I see a church or someone says something about God I have to say all the prayers I know out loud. As you can imagine it is very difficult to meet girls and have friends when you are such a freak as I am.
About a year ago I discovered that drinking alcohol makes my compulsions go a way for as long as I am under the influence. So now whenever I go out and socialize with people I drink and have no need to do all those weird things I do when I’m sober.
I even got myself a girlfriend but she left me a month ago. The problem is that now days I’m rarely sober and that is messing up my life. My boss from work told me I have to get help for my drinking problem or I will get fired. If I lose my job I’m good as dead because that is the only thing I’m good at. Please help me keep my job.”
James didn’t know anything about alcohol and anxiety when he wrote his first e-mail to me and that is why he believed he was a freak and that alcohol was the answer to his problems. He was very wrong about both.
James suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder which is one of the types of anxiety disorders. His “needs” are obsessive compulsions that he is unable to control.
Alcohol did help James with his symptoms but the price was too high (as it is always). He became an alcoholic who was about to lose his job because of it, and his job was very important to him. So much so that he didn’t ask me to help him with his disorder but to help him keep his job.
After learning about the link between alcohol and anxiety James understood that he needed alcohol counseling and psychotherapy for his compulsive behavior. Today his drinking problem is just a part of his past, he still has his old job and is working very hard with his therapist on his obsessive compulsive disorder.