Does Drinking Alcohol Increase Anxiety?

I have what they call generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Certain situations make me anxious to a point to where I start to shake, can’t eat and just feel overall anxious like I’m about to go out on stage in front of a big crowd. I can honestly say that for many years before I took up drinking, I did have anxiety but nothing like I do now. If you suffer from anxiety, you may have noticed this as well. While drinking a 6 pack or more might be a lot of fun the night before, the next day is ruined. I find myself barely functional and very anti-social and full of anxiety. Drinking dehydrates you and thins out your blood which will increase your heart rate. An increased heart rate generally makes you feel anxious and can cause anxiety. I’ve also read that alcohol destroys a good amount of vitamins that your body needs and it’s been known that taking vitamins can help reduce your anxiety. Alcohol also lowers your blood sugar and causes the adrenal glands to produce noradrenalin and the increase of noradrenalin and lowered blood sugar can produce and / or intensify anxiety.

I enjoy hanging out at night and drinking with my buddies. Most of the time, if I’m feeling good, it’s hard for me not to drink because I’m not feeling crappy from drinking the night before and forget how terrible I will feel the next day. I can honestly say from my experience, having GAD and drinking alcohol is not a fun mix the day after a night of drinking. I have spent an entire day throwing up and feeling sick because I had drank too much the night before too quickly and woke up the next day with terrible anxiety and a terrible hang over.

I constantly remind myself when I go to the store to buy beer that I’m going to probably feel sick and anxious the next day and things that don’t usually bother me will give me anxiety. This is something that I’m reminding myself over and over and although I might feel relaxed and goofy during a night of drinking, all the fun is sucked up from the next day into one night. Hardly worth it if you ask me.

Now if you’re like me and enjoy drinking beer and hanging out, then learn your limit. Drink slowly throughout the evening / night. Don’t chug your beer to get drunk faster. Drink slowly. I know it can be hard to stop once you’ve hit the point of “I don’t care if I feel crappy tomorrow!” but you’ll have to quit hours before you go to bed so you can sober up. Bring water with you. After your last beer or alcoholic beverage, crack open a bottle of water and drink away. Drink as much water as you can before you go to bed and at least 3 tall glasses of water the next day. Water helps and food helps (if you can eat it). I’m still planning to cut way down on my alcohol intake to reduce my anxiety. I hate anxiety and drinking makes it worse.