Social Anxiety and alcoholism
Asked By: Anonymous Views: 930 times
I've had hyperhydrosis since high school. I had a symthectomy to stop hand sweating and ended up with severe compensatory sweating in other places. I had a drink often before social events to calm my nerves when I was younger. While drinking was a problem, I wasn't a problem drinker. Years later my husband wanted a divorce and I began to drink every day to hide my feelings. Then I crossed the line into alcoholism. So now if I take a drink, I don't stop drinking. It's very hard to perform the social things required in AA without my mind wishing for that old crutch, but impossible to use that crutch now. Professionals have told me to deal with the alcoholism first, but what if I can't do all I'm required to do because of the social anxiety? The connection in my brain for having a drink when I feel that anxiety is so strong it is making quite avoidant. Thanks for any suggestions.
"Six- pack therapy" and variations thereof are extremely common for social anxiety sufferers. Alcohol is the drug of choice because it lowers the excessive internal critical script and excessive adapted emotion. These are "mind states". This allows for disinhibition in the short term. The problem is that alcohol depresses the overall activity of the brain and crushes the energy of all the mind states. This info can be learned in detail in the book "Work Makes Me Nervous". You may want to do some research. Look up Amen cllinics online.View a brain scan of an alcoholic and you can get insight into the impact alcohol has on brain chemistry. When they say "it's all in your head" you better believe it. I have countless patients, who when they learn to control alcohol use and over-dependence, report substantial and remarkable improvement with anxiety as well as overall mood. You need to learn how to "attach" to the anxiety which includes physiological, behavioral, thinking, and emotional variables. Think of F.A.T.E.
F- Function = physiology
A- Action = behavior
T -Thinking = cognition
You have learned a very negative association to your adrenaline -driven visceral response, which you learned to compulsively repress with alcohol. It is crucial for you to learn a paradoxical (opposite) interpretation of these feelings. In order to control anxiety you need to feel it; not repress it. The best way to do this is with support and insight!
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