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I am a 44 year old male. I've always liked a drink, right from when i started drinking as a teen (as is the norm in the UK).

Since approximately 1998, I have been suffering from problems with anxiety. I can go months on end, managing it pretty well, not letting it get on top of me. However, I do have periods where it totally gets too much and I have to seek medical intervention.

I've been on, over that period, prozac, seroxat, citalopram and dosulepin (the last one is what I am on now). They all worked to some degree, in that they improved me enough to be able to "keep a lid" on things, with the exception of citalopram which worked the first time i was on it, but the second time, caused unbelievable levels of anxiety for two months as I started taking it. In the end, my doctor switched me on to dosulepin.

I have been wondering how closely related my anxiety issues are with my alcohol usage.

In terms of how much I drink, I drink pretty much every night (by which I mean maybe one night a month I will have no alcohol). 

I drink red wine and beer. Some evenings, I'll have no beer, just the wine, but wine is the one I drink every night.

Looking back to when I was a student, I would go out and get as pissed as the next guy - which in this country, in student culture, means a lot - but I could handle it pretty well, in that I'd never black out or lose control on the night itself. My problems started the next day, when I'd suffer terrible hangovers. My friends would always seem to be able to shake theirs off quickly, but mine would last all day and sometimes into the day after - I'd be shaking horribly, not want to eat, feel like throwing up - basically, entirely non functioning.

If I over do it now (which isn't actually that often, I don't go out boozing and clubbing with friends any more), the horrendous hangovers are there, worst than ever.

I am wondering if what I described, back in student days, as "a hangover" actually had a large element of anxiety in it. Although I now don't drink the quantities I would on a student bender, at least when I was a student, I didn't drink anything like every night. Nowhere near. At the time, anxiety was not a problem for me.

The anxiety I have suffered over the last 14 odd years resembles the way I would feel with a horrible hangover very closely.  My anxiety manifests itself in the same shaking, trembling, feeling weak, feeling like I want to faint, and not being able to function that I would experience with a hangover. 

My panic attacks don't sound as horrible as many others experience (I've never been to A&E for it, for example), but they are more like an intensified feeling of the general anxiety I have with me all the time.

If I think back to when the anxiety started - 1997 or 1998 - it tallies with the first time in my life I really can remember starting to drink every night. I was undergoing a divorce at the time, and drinking was my release. On top of this, I had my first panic attack shortly after - which scared me to death.

This lead into the period I am in now, where I am drinking every night and living with anxiety every day. Most nights I will have  at least half a bottle of wine, some nights an entire bottle, some times more than that. I spend most of the afternoon wondering when I can start drinking that evening and worrying if we have enough wine in the house, so I know I quite clearly have a problem.

My question - and it might sound daft, and I do know the obvious answer - is whether it really can be that simple, that my anxiety is almost entirely alcohol related, given the correlation of the times i mentioned above?

Has anyone else had that same experience?


Hello andyinbrum,


I truly believe alcohol is a major cause of your problems. As you already know............

 I have given up alcohol after having lightheadedness for about 10 years now, and I have noticed that if I give in and have a glass of wine I always, without fail,  have higher anxiety and weird head feelings next day, to the extent I can't even drive to the next suburb as my head feels not right.  I had to cancel a new volunteer role that was on that day as I thought I would be subject to a panic attack being blow par that day......that can happen when not feeling too great.  Now I have stopped drinking, (used to love my glass of wine at night, one or two) about 4 times a week.  I joined a gym, exercise is brilliant for mind and body.  I try to avoid any stressful events, although thats not always possible. I have had difficulty accepting this is anxiety but can't find anything else.  As we get older alcohol is less tolerated by a lot of people.  I remember my most lightheaded ever feeling came after i got drunk on red wine.  Next day I had to  drive somewhere to pick up my son and had to get my husband to come down and get me and the car by taxi as I was too c**p in head to drive, although completely sober.  Really scary lightheaded. That was years ago. 

Hormones also play a role with me.  As does being stuck in a job interview face to face with one person.....felt nervous of having a panic attack.  Also felt anxious stuck in a long slow line at airport, had to pretend to fix up my shoes to get my head down low to get more blood in brain, lol.  I never used to be like this before at all......ever.  Must be a mental illness of some sort.  But I believe Alcohol plays a really big role.  I know someone who if they have one drink gets palpatations next day bad all day, takes about 3 days to be normal again.  They do have anxiety.  This person has to manage their lifestyle accordingly now.  That all started after bad event in their life.





Hi sbguest

Your situation sounds pretty similar to me. It is the light headedness and shakiness that I can't stand

The airport line thing struck a chord with me, too. That's *exactly* what happened to me a few months ago when I went on holiday

My anxiety peaks when I am in a situation where I have to wait for something, or when I'm in a situation where I can't get out (ie in a big line at an airport, in a line at a shop, in a restaurant where I don't want to look an id**t by feeling bad etc).

Of course, the vicious circle is that when I have a "good" day, I fancy a few drinks that evening to celebrate, which causes more problems ....


Hi andyinbrum

Yeah, i used to love to have a drink when on a good day, i don't believe it causes the lightheadedness wholly, but aggravates and steps up the problem that exists quite a bit for me. I just know I feel I'm having a lot more good days now I have stopped having a drink. The lightheadedness is still just there, enough for me to not drive in main traffic areas, but around my suburb I'm heaps better with driving, reaching speeds of 70kph, which is good for me. so weird, hey???

Its a pain in the a...e, I love a nice drink of wine before dinner, but, I'm sticking to my guns on it. Instead I have a nice drink of non alcolholic drink, my indulgence being a vanilla flavoured soy milk drink. I think when you love doing something like drinking, smoking whatever, and its a habit, you need to replace it with something appealing to help break the habit. The thing that is hard to except is Anxiety. I don't feel anxious about much, the only thing that makes me anxious is a more intense lightheaded spell..........and the fact I don't know why I should be like this. ..... I have a friend who is a prison guard and she has a lot more reason to be anxious, haha, but she is clear headed and hasnt had any panic feelings... doesn't make much sense to me. The hemmed in feelings of 'stuck' in a line etc is I admit a phobic thing, or anxiety thing, but I didn't get that till after 10 years of this weirdo lightheadedness problem...but again, I have'nt had any of those problems since giving away my drinks of wine I enjoyed, so I am convinced alcolhol aggravates my problem. Went to gym this morning, always notice slight lightheadedness, but its part of me now and if its slight as it is, I'm not fussed, used to the bloody thing.


I know exactly how you doing the same...and need someone to talk female and going through seperation and selling house...unforunately fell in love with smeone else who was a playa..not good....