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So, i'm 22 and have been drinking almost everyday since i was around 19-20. Last month i was in the movies when this sudden fear/sense of impending doom rushed over me. My heart started to race, i got super shaky, and just had to get out. So i went outside, tried to calm down. It didnt help. I was soo scared because i didnt know what was happening, i thought i was drugged! So i called my mother to come pick me up (was too shaky to drive) and she took me to the ER. The doctor said i was probably going through alcohol withdrawal, "How can that be doc? I just drank last night". Apparently my body needed more and more alcohol, so i was going through withdrawal while drinking..........That panic attack was the worst feeling in the world, literally.

So i quit drinking for 3 days then got back to getting drunk everyday. Then yesterday AT WORK i had another panic attack, this one was more severe and my heart was beating soo fast i almost passed out. The worst feeling in the world once again came back to me. So i left work and went back to the ER. They told me the same thing "You need to stop drinking, your too young for this to be happening to you, you have your whole life ahead of you!"

Yesterday was pretty bad all day, and today im a little bit more calm, but im super tense and literally scared for my sanity because everytime i have a panic attack, it makes me feel like im losing my mind. Ive never been more scared.


So im back where i started, 2 days sober and hoping for some inspiration to keep going the distance. Because i hate being this scared, and hopefully some of you can relate to what im going through.

Thanks guys :)

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My first thought after I started reading this was - you're too young for this to be happening to you! But I'm afraid that what you went through and still are going through is almost classic display of not only alcohol withdrawal, but also poisoning - it has direct effect on your brain, so it's not strange it can cause psychological discomfort that can border with terror (and panic attacks, together with anxiety that follows them is terror - I know that, unfortunately). Did they gave you any referrals or recommendations on what to do in the next few days? You have to get some help in stopping the panic attack before they start to create vicious cycle - after some time you become terrified at the thought of this happening again and, yes, I'm worried that it's already started to happen... Your mom knows about what you're going through? Or anyone close who will be there for you?
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Feel free to talk or send me a private message - maybe writing and being occupied with something will help a bit in time to move past faster.
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Thank you very much for your helpful response. And yes, the doctor gave me antivan to calm me down today and then a prescription for librium for the next 5 days. And yes i know about that vicious cycle, and it is happening. Basically scared until it happens again and then scared. But going on these sites and getting helpful responses and seeing people whove gone through the same thing is really helping. My mother was there with me at the hospital both times, shes my only support for now.
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OK, Ativan and Librium are first choice treatment for acute alcohol withdrawal, so it's only a matter of being prescribed the right dosage. Acute withdrawal is going to last for this first few days, but attacks and fear are what I'm worried about - these medications will not help in the long term. You might need a more detailed talk with psychologist related to panic attacks because I know that this is not something you can talk your self out of or "stop worrying" as people like to tell you. I'm glad you have your mom with you, as you start to physically feel better - and you will once alcohol starts to leave your system - you will need all the support you can get to fill in the needs you were trying to kill off with drinking.
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Yes, that is my main concern. The panic attacks. Thats all i want to get rid of, its the worst feeling in the world, and its affecting my job, and my body, and my sanity. Everytime it happens i fall deep into depression, and thoughts that would never come into my head come rushing in...
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Can you get any time off work, at least for these 5 worst days? Because it will get a little better when withdrawals ease off
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(: What you are going through is very common for people with alcohol dependence, anxiety and alcohol abuse are often comorbid. The reason being is that the area of the brain that controls cravings also is where there is emotional regualtions of memories and a trigger to use can be one in the same with a trauma trigger. Alcohol served to not allow for feelings and now that sobriety is in place there can be a rush of emotional responses (fear) in the form of anxiety. Try to consider your surrounding when you are having an attack, sometimes you may be aware of what triggers your anxiety and sometimes you may not be aware. The panic attack is your brain in flee fight or freeze mode, and there may be some unresolved trauma that has not been addressed and perhaps the very reason that alcohol is so addictive (to numb out). Roughly 90% of people in treatment for alcohol and drug addiction have an anxiety disorder (PTDS), post-traumatic, stress, disorder.

 

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Muzzy,
   I'm a lot older than you and have actually been a regular alcohol consumer even longer than that.  I'm 39 now and until only recently have been experiencing regular anxiety / panic attacks.  Back when I was your age through my early 30's, most of my drinking was of the "binge" sort.  I'd hang out at the bar for the afternoon, watch a football game, throw back shots along with my beers and experience nothing more than a hangover.  In most instances I did not drink two days in a row and at the time, was an avid runner and actually quite active (which may have helped).  As I've gotten older & married, most of my consumption has shifted to the home environment.  I work a professional job as a manager, leave work, do my shopping, come home, do some chores, put on the game THEN proceed to have myself a vodka and diet, another, etc... I basically hangout all afternoon or evening sipping on these mixers... I'm talking 5-6 hours or steady consumption.  THAT'S when the real anxiety problems started.  The next day I wouldn't be hungover per se, but I felt paranoid, avoided going on errands, malls; anywhere with people.  Sometimes my arms felt disconnected from my body.  Everything worked but I felt like I was "disconnected."  Palm sweating?  Always.  Did I crave a drink?  Nope.  I actually was very productive despite theh symptoms.  If it was a weekend, I'd work in the yard, etc... THEN, repeat... throw on a game, kick back, have a cocktail and reeelllaaxx :-)  I really enjoyed it.  Then I started doing it after work on weekdays.  Come home, make dinner, sports or talk radio, cocktail... lets say from 6pm-10pm; everyday.  Never stupid drunk and knew when to go to bed for work.   Some days it was hard to get up but I always made it and usually had a good day.  Starting about 6 months ago, I went to work and found that a bunch of us managers had to go to a training.  I drank the night before as usual and as I sat in the meeting I began to feel agitated... scared... palms sweating a LOT... I began to experience vertigo, prickly heat, increased heartrate.  For me, I knew what was happening and I HAD to get out of there.  There was no way I was going to do that and blow my cover.  I took deep breaths, telling myself I was going to be okay.  It passed.  A few months later I had another meeting where more personal participation was required.  I was the first in the meeting room and already was feeling anxiety, perhaps for fear of an attack, as I knew the situations that were triggering them.  Sure enough, I was in a subgroup brainstorming and taking notes.  I started to write and then my hand froze.  I had a wave of fear overcome me and I excused myself to use the washroom.  I calmed myself and returned, making it through the meeting.  Afterwards I returned to my desk and called my doctor to make an appointment.  After visiting him, I found my BP was sky-high, showed signs of withdrawal and anxiety.  I told him my history but all he prescribed at the time was a beta blocker to keep my heart from working so hard.  He told me I need to stop the vodka habit.  Anyhow, the meds worked.. BP nice and normal.   I cut down on the booze -for a while anyhow.  I quickly got back into my man-den afterwork routine.  Feeling ok for a few more months (may a little anxiety) I was working one day.  I started to feel tingly in my arms and my breathing more rapid.  I knew what was coming.  I went for a walk and returned... I tried sitting... too anxious.... doing some things walking around... then the FEAR... I gotta GO!!  I went to sit my car... couldn't... no way I could drive.  Then I was going to dial my doctor but I started shaking... I mean SHAKING.  My hands moving like Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas.  I left my car and didn't walk but RAN next door to my doctor.  There I told the receptionist I didn't have an appt but was having a panic attack and thought it might become serious (hell, it was already).  I sat in a luckily-empty waiting room breathing, trying to relax.  Upon entering the exam room I was flipping out, could hardly talk.  The nurse was SOOO nice and seemed knowledgeable as to what was happening.  When the doctor finally arrived I told him the straight-up truth about how I've drank most of my adult life but never had symptoms like this.  He just so happened to have treated alcohol dependence on many levels.  He said, "yes, this most surely from the booze."  He mentioned, "This is how the more serious stages begin, but just relax.  We'll get it taken care of."  He did some reflex tests, asked a lot of questions.  I told him that lately I've been drinking a 1.75L of vodka in about 3 days consistently for about a month... less before that.  It turns out that my binges were very extended 5-6 hours.   When your brain is swimming in ethanol for these periods of time it REALLY affects your GABA (gamma alpha butyric acid) levels.  GABA is a neurotransmitter in your brain that actually calms neighboring nerves to keep them from over-firing.  When you have booze in your system for extended periods of time your GABA levels drop to compensate for the calming effects of the booze.. if they didn't you might end up in some kind of coma.  Anyhow, when you're not boozing, the low GABA levels remain and are not there to calm the neighboring neurons... so they go haywire, over-exciting every system in your body; inducing your "fight or flight" mechanism.  Fine if you're being chased by a tiger... not when you're in a staff meeting!  So, here's where detox is absolutely required to prevent more severe DTs which can end your life if you don't make it to an ER.  In the office the doc gave me 2 Xanax to stop my episode... worked great.. fantastic drug for short-term episodes.  He then prescribed a "tapering" 'scrip' for Librium, an anti-anxiety med often used for alcohol detox.  It remains in your system longer than alcohol and helps raise those GABA levels back to normal.  This will stop your panic attacks while your body lives without booze for 6-7 days; which is what you need to do.  You take a high dose then taper until your scrip is finished.  That's where I am now actually!   I also take high-doses of vitamin B1 & folic acid (helps prevent detox complications)  My last major attack I spoke of?  This past Tuesday.  I had some work party where beer was provided.  I brought N/A beer (which still has a tiny amount of alcohol >0.5%) and had a few.  I'm now on day 4 without "real" booze or beer and feel a bit cloudy from the Librium but I'm not freaking out running down the street.  I must say though, and I'm surprised (or not).  Yesterday I met my wife for a drink and had 2 N/A beers there... I felt another small anxiety attack coming on... I told me wife I'd like to go after she finished her beer.  I immediately popped my 2nd daily dose of Librium and calmed down in a few minutes.  No full blown attack.  I was hoping I could enjoy these beers as an occasional alternative.  If anyone is reading this, is that a no-go?  I am excepting the fact that I may and probably won't be able to drink again?  Much of what I read on forums is that you can quit for a month, have 2 beers or wine and then be thrown into a full panic attack...as if my brain will never rewire itself to drink again safely, even if I honestly stop the 5-6 hour sipping sessions.  Opinions?   Back to Muzzy... I go in next Wed for a follow-up for my BP and progress.  I forgot to say the doc said "you should be good, and be able to enjoy beers with your friends on the weekend again... the WEEKEND, not everyday!"  I'm not sure he's right.  I fear this chapter of my life might be over.  A chapter that lasted 20 years!  I don't have kids (yet)... and perhaps it's best I just live what life I have left without any booze whatsoever... just so early in the process, I dunno.   Havin' my saturday coffee right now, that's nice at least.  So, Muzzy, if you relate to this novella I've put down, help is easy and probably out-patient at your point, as was mine.  Doctors can be very helpful, and be sure not to lie about your consumption, that's important to the treatment options.   And again... if anyone else is reading, is N/A beer enough to trigger these attacks?  Perhaps my brain is hypersensitive at this point, desperately looking for a fix?  ....  a measly 0.5% alcohol fix?   Or do you think I'm just so early in the detox that it might have something to do with it?  I could use some help with that.   At this point I'm not planning to visit AA or stop hangin with my buds... just my bud lights.

hope you took the time to read this!
thanks!
-Iplaye9
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Very inspirational story! I'm actually going through the panicky withdrawals now. I've had Dr.'s prescribe me benzos- avoid like the plague, because when you try to go a day or two without them you get withdrawals from those. I'm going to look into Librium. I do agree with other posters, once you go back to that one glass or beer it's back to beginning!
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I'm in the same boat as you are. I'm turning 22 in a month and would get drunk or at least drink heavily for the past 3 years. Luckily, I decided to quit drinking with the support of my family and I have now been sober for 2 weeks and 2 days!
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He should of asked you how much you drank and if you were honest, telling him you had a drinking problem, legally he was not supposed to prescribe them to you. The xanax is for you, like taking a drink. Your problems are alcohol related, it can easily take a year for a very heavy drinker to feel "right" again
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Yoga has consistently helped me the most in this department—so much so that I eventually became a yoga teacher. I believe that feelings build up in different parts of our bodies,Cardio Running fast while listening to hip-hop very loudly will drown out those anxious and panicky thoughts.This is the meditation step, and it can take many forms. The one I find the most accessible is simply sitting and breathing. Close your eyes, inhale, and exhale. On the inhale, say, “Faith”; on the exhale, say “Fear,” and watch your fear float away as it’s replaced by faith .to pray about something and then it gets removed from me.
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