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Alcoholism and Anxiety

Like Depression and Alcoholism - alcoholism and anxiety are undoubtedly linked. From a Scientific Perspective however, research has shown that those of us that have lower levels of CREB, a protein involved in a variety of brain functions, could play a significant role in anxiety and alcohol drinking behaviour.

But let's not get stuck on the science of it and try and put it in a way that makes sense and is easy to understand. What I learned (from a guy called Bill Harris a well-known personal-development and meditation expert) makes a lot of sense and has really helped me understand why I used to suffer from anxiety and depression.

Most ‘dysfunctional’ behaviour stems from our ability to withstand ‘stress.’ And when I say stress, I refer to it in a fairly loose way as any form of stimulus/event that we are exposed to. That stress threshold is to a large degree formed in early childhood and is especially impacted by our home environment and the relationship we have with our parents.

So if you’ve experienced trauma in your early childhood – like having an alcoholic parent, being raised in a dysfunctional home, being abused, losing a parent – your threshold is usually going to be far lower than that for someone who has been brought up in a fairly stable, loving and supportive environment.

When that threshold is then exceeded – we deal with it by engaging in a variety of coping mechanisms - from depression to anxiety, to feeling ‘I can’t cope’, to substance abuse, to anger etc.None of this happens consciously of course, it's simply a sub-conscious reaction that's been ingrained in us from when we were young.

So coming back to alcoholism and anxiety – if you’re regularly being pushed above your threshold and regularly feeling anxious as a result, it’s fairly natural to want to use alcohol or drugs to help you cope, i.e. self-medicate. It's no secret that many alcoholics and addicts therefore start drinking or using to mask their underlying anxiety.

I never really understood why I suffered from extreme anxiety, which first starting surfacing just after I started high school. And the above explanation just makes so much sense to me. Alcoholic mother, the tension/fear/anger that permeated our home as a result of the fractious relationship my parents had as result, and an intimidating father figure meant I never felt safe ... and so I withdrew into my own world, which then started manifesting as chronic anxiety from the age of about 14.

There are various forms of anxiety ... from generalised anxiety disorder to social anxiety ... and symptoms can manifest in a number of different ways. Racing heart, flushing/red face, shaking/trembling, dizziness, sweating, inability to speak properly, scattered/out of control thoughts, panic etc.

So alcohol becomes a great short-term solution to these symptoms, but the problem is it leads to dependence and alcoholism. Therefore alcohol clearly isn't the answer, but what is?

Alcoholism and Anxiety Solutions

If you’re looking for a quick fix and immediate relief, a natural product I use that gives me immediate relief and helps relax me when I feel anxious, is calcium magnesium complex. Magnesium provides a great natural relief against anxiety, but for it to work optimally and assimilate in your body properly, it works best with calcium – hence the calcium magnesium complex.

Other excellent natural anxiety relievers are products like GABA, Valerian, KAVA, and 5HTP - all which can be found at your local health store. Sometimes it requires a bit of experimentation to find out which product and in what quantities they work best for you. I've found an excellent form of GABA locally and take 3x300 mg to help alleviate my anxiety when I feel I need it, because after a lot of trial and error I've found that's the option that works best for me right now.

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But for a long-term and permanent solution to the anxiety alcoholism conundrum – and coming back to the explanation I gave you above about exceeding your ‘stress’ threshold – the answer is to raise your threshold so that you can cope far more easily with whatever life happens to throw at you.

And in doing so – because you feel more relaxed and able to cope, and things ‘get to you’ far less – your anxiety will naturally begin to diminish and all the things that make you anxious will begin doing so less and less until they just don’t bother you at all anymore.

If you’re interested in finding out about the Tool I Use To Help Me With My Anxiety click on the link and take a look. It's a tool that will help you deal more effectively with stress, become more calm, and become a happier, more rounded individual. It's essentially a meditation tool - and studies have shown that meditation is one of the most effective methods to cope with stress and alleviate anxiety - but it accelerates the process and essentially does the work for you.

Now whether you use the tool or learn to meditate effectively yourself, if you're serious about wanting to address your anxiety and alcoholism, it's the most effective long-term solution available. Of course things like CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and getting professional help from a recognised Alcoholism Treatment Program should be a priority, but in the long-term taking control of your own well-being through methods like meditation and yoga offer the most lasting solutions.

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