Anxiety from alcohol use? Anxiety causing chest pains???

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Cityfirefighter
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 7/16/2009 12:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello. I am from St. Louis. I have suffered from anxiety for quite some time now. I am 24 and have had it since I was 21 or so. I am very healthy, I work out 3 to 5 times a week, play sports 2 nights a week, maintain a healthy diet... My mother suffered from panic attacks and my sister did also. I remeber thinking, "I am so glad I dont have that when I was younger... And then... It started, But I think it was brought about by my alcohol use. I drank quite a bit in college, maybe 2 or 3 times a week. Never had anxiety before college. Since I have been out of college I drink maybe once a week or once every other week. I have anxiety all the time NOW but I can control it. It is SOOOOO much worse when I wake up hungover.I start feeling like i'm going to go crazy and get paranoid... I start thinking I am sick and going to die!!!  Also, I have recently started suffering from chest pains but my doc says there is nothing wrong. Can anyone help me with this, being anxious like I am I keep trying to convince myself I am dying from a disease at 24. Is alcohol the root? Will stopping drinking make it stop?
 
P.S. I am not an alcoholic...

boo32
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 222
   Posted 7/16/2009 12:37 AM (GMT -7)   

hi,

welcome to the board.

You sure are looking after yourself well and i would think that if your diet and exercise are as you say then the chest pains are most likely from anxiety and maybe pushing yourself too hard. Are you actually a firefighter(like your signature says) as i'm sure that's a fairly high stress job.

If you didn't start drinking till you were in college that may well have been a trigger. They can also be family related, inherited i mean, wheter it's geneic or learned behaviour i wouldn't know.

I know you say you only drink alcohol occasionallly but when you do are you getting drunk, as this will definately be the cause of paranoia, sickness and feeling out of control. Maybe consider giving the alcohol a miss for a few weeks or months and see if it helps. If anyone asks just say it makes you too sick in the morning.

As a person who started drinking at 13 and was an binge alcoholic by 19 it's a road best avoided. I think i made myself intolerant to it, even a glass of wine would send me loopers now.

Take care and try to find something you can relax into, sport is great, gets the adrenaline pumping, but maybe you also need something to unwind too. A gentle walk on the park, a good book, music etc,,whatever does it for you.

My thoughts are with you, boo


BikeBoo, biking with my boo since 1999
Of all the things i've lost, i miss my mind the most! But it has its advantages!
Fibro, spinal arthritis and all that goes with it.
GAD


Cityfirefighter
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 7/16/2009 12:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Boo,
 
Thank you so much for the reply. Yes I am a FF, and it does add to the stress... but overall, I enjoy it. And yes, I admit, lately I have not stopped at my limit when it comes to drinking. I will certainly take your advice and give it a break for a while. It is just tough when all of my buddies do it regularly. But if that will help my anxiety I will do whatever it takes. Thank you again for the reply!
 
CFF

Allestaria
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 341
   Posted 7/16/2009 2:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi CFF,

I do have inherited anxiety/ panice attacks. Mom, dad, 3 brothers, and my great grandma all have/had it. I've been suffering since about the age of 8.

From my experience.


Drinking can cause anxiety to get worse. Usually the day after and depending on how bad your anxiety is can last until the alcohol is clear of the body. IMO it doesn't sound like your occasional drinking is causing your chest pains. You don't mention that it is only after you drink. So this seems like a very slim chance.
When you reach a hangover state though. That does mean you have (of course) put to much into your body. And basically the body becomes poisoned and is reacting to it.

Anyway, tell us a little more about your chest pains. Are they left-right side. Come on after you eat, notice it after you wake up. Are you doing different routines in your work out? Have you injured your back? Under more stress then normal? Do you clench your jaw? Shortness of breath?

Now anxiety can and does cause chest pains. I've had some really weird ones myself. Shooting pain from under my rib cage to my collar bone. Tightness. Spasms. Heart palpitations, list goes on..lol
After a couple of years of going through this. With ekg's coming back normal. Great blood pressure/pulse. It turns out I have TMJ. Which causes me to clench my teeth. And I have clenched them so hard that I have actually broke teeth. My jaw has locked several times. I have experienced horrible headaches, ear aches, and pain on the left side of my head so bad I couldn't touch it.
When you clench your teeth the face,neck,shoulder,back and chest muscles are all effected.

Anxeity/ panic effects each and everyone differently. But it seems we all have some common symptoms. Chest pains being one of the more common ones. Which I have noticed that several people seem to suffer from acid reflex of some kind. Which can cause chest pains. And boy these pains can be so bad it feels like your having a heart attack.

You can have chest pains when in actuality its a back problem. Injured shoulder, acid reflex, stress, asthma, and good old anxiety/ panic can cause them as well.

But if your doctor says your fine, and yet you are still concerned about them. Don't give up. Try to find what may be causing them. Try other avenues. Get a massage, try relaxation breathing, keep note of when they happen what you were doing that day. Include what you have been eating. See if you can come up with a pattern. And if you can't, visit the doc again. Be persistent.

Are you taking any meds for your anxiety/panic? CBT, therapy is also suggested.

I hope you find relief for you chest pains. Some times with anxiety we have to accept them. And then they go away. Its weird I know. Probably some kind of "trick" our minds play on us. Once I get used to one type of pain another one comes in to replace it. Its like a roller coaster ride. My big panic for years was chest pains. I have moved on passed that and now back pains set me off.

Hang in there. You will find a lot of helpful people, and information here! Welcome!

Take Care
Cary-Ann

boo32
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 222
   Posted 7/16/2009 4:43 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi,
I know it's so hard to give drinking a miss when it's a 'buddy thing'. I had to ditch some of my so called friends at the time. Some i still keep in touch with but as i'm not a drinker anymore we just meet up for lunch etc, easier for me , i know.
It definately got easier as i got older, i don't feel i need to justify myself anymore. Being irish the main socialising is centred on pubs and clubs.
sports are great, if you were involved in one that limits your alcohol, even better. What i mean is, you can use it as an excuse if you're not happy saying to people why you don't want to drink.
Remember, your real mates will understand, the rest don't matter. As a FF, i'm sure you're not allowed turn up for work hungover anyway, that is how i lost my job as i was responsible for people enjoying sports in a safe environment....not too safe when the teacher is stinking of alcohol.
I know you're not and alcoholic, but a tendancy to overdo it can lead into binge drinking and before you know it, it's every other night instaed of every other week.
If you have had work related trauma this could also be the cause. Take care of yourself, people like you are important to people like me.
Boo
BikeBoo, biking with my boo since 1999
Of all the things i've lost, i miss my mind the most! But it has its advantages!
Fibro, spinal arthritis and all that goes with it.
GAD


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 7/16/2009 5:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi CFF,
Welcome to HealingWell and the A & P Forum. You have received great advice from our wonderful members.
 
I have read  that alcohol can actually increase your level of anxiety. Drinking alcohol not only increases lactic acid levels in the blood, it also causes fluctuations in blood sugar levels. This leads to increased anxiety and agitation.
 
Any chance you can give up the alcohol ?  I know that is a difficult choice but it may decrease your anxiety.
 
Again a warm welcome,
Kitt



 

Kitt,
Moderator: Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn
Anxiety/Panic, & Depression
*~*
http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others."
Not a mental health professional of any kind


Nanners
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 7/16/2009 6:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi City,

And welcome to Healingwell. You have been given some great advice already, and I would have to agree that maybe you need to step back from the alchohol. I know its hard when your friends are drinking and you want to be part of the crowd, but I think like what was mentioned before, if they really are your friends then they will understand. My husband loved having his beer, but it started giving him really bad migraines the day after he drank a beer. After being knocked down with terrible migraines, he finally said enough was enough and has completely stopped drinking. He would get the migraines after drinking only one beer sometimes. Since it seems the alchohol is triggering your anxiety, maybe a little break for a few months might show you if it is the culprit or not.

Good luck,
Gail*Nanners*
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease and Anxiety/Panic Forum
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium  w/Vit D, and Xanax as needed for my anxiety.  Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Hibee
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 6488
   Posted 7/16/2009 9:14 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi

Good to meet you and well come to our anxiety forum. Sorry to hear you are having problems with anxiety, from my experience alcohol does make my anxiety/depression a lot worse and when I drink i also get very paranoid. I have had problems with alcohol and substance abuse but im getting help with this from my therapist and CBT sessions. I think you have to make the decision weather or not to stop drinking alcohol but as the others have mentioned it may be worth it to reduce your symptoms of anxiety. Hope things get better for you soon and keep posting to let us know how you are getting on.


Take Care

Ben

Cityfirefighter
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 7/16/2009 1:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello everyone,
 
Let me start by saying thank you for the replys. It really calms my nerves to read your replys. This forum is great!
 
  Funny you mentioned the clenching the jaw. I do it quite often. Mostly when I am concentrating or just dozing off, i'm sure I do it more but just don't notice. It's not that I clench them hard, I kind of just flex my jaw muscles... Maybe a habit? Also, in the recent past I had some trouble breathing for about 3 days but it went away. I had been involved in a structural fire previously and inhaled some smoke though. But, of course in was making me a bit panicky. No phlegm or coughing though. As far as the chest pains. It is my left side mostly, it feels like it is my rib cage directly underneath my armpit. But I do have acid reflux... Also, My chest pops if I sneeze, stretch, or simply lean back sometimes. I am assuming that is exoskeletal, but I could be wrong. The weird thing is that these things don't happen every day. It's here and there. And yes, they make me tell myself I am dying of lung cancer or I am going to have a heart attack. It really puts a damper on my day but yet my doctor tells me i'm healthy as a horse.
 
I am not on any medications for ADD but I have been asking some friends who have anxiety and they say meds work. I have never taken meds of any kind unless I was sick. I'm not too comfortable with relying on it. But some people have told me Xanex works. My sister takes it also. I'm to the point now where i'm wondering if my bad days could be better without all the worry. I'm thinking of telling my doctor but I don't want to be put on any kind of anti depressant. I recently had a friend who suffered from severe anxiety and his doctor put him on anti depressants. Soon after he became suicidal...
 
As far as the drinking, NO PROBLEM giving it a rest. Whatever will work, I'll do whatever it takes.
 
Also, I wouldnt mind maybe trying a prescription, and maybe just taking it when I feel anxious, and other days just leave it alone... If that will even be effective?
 
The work related trauma does add to the stress, I am also in medic school now too; and trying to work. So the work load is there. But overall i'm happy to be headed in this direction. We do have critical incident stress debriefings which really help with the stress.
 
Boo, Allestaria, Hibee, Nanners, stkitt,
 
Thank you all so much for your thoughtful replys. It is much appreciated.
 
CFF 
  
 
 
 

 

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 7/16/2009 1:46 PM (GMT -7)   

Hey CFF,

It is nice to get to know you.  Some of my favorite people of firefighters and EMS personnel.  cool

You could try a benzodiazapine such as Xanax on an as needed bases or Buspar(Bu Spar) which  is a traditional anxiolytic.  I use the Buspar daily and it really has helped me.  I do have Valium to use if something gets way out of whack.  Please do discuss meds with your physician and then make an informed decision on what you feel meets your needs.

I would give up the alcohol and see how much better you feel.

Again welcome to our world.

Kitt


 

Kitt,
Moderator: Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn
Anxiety/Panic, & Depression
*~*
http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others."
Not a mental health professional of any kind


boo32
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 222
   Posted 7/16/2009 3:03 PM (GMT -7)   
hi,
Glsd to see you're feeling a bit better. I take xanax for the bad days and rely on distracting myself on the not so bad days. From personal experience anti depressants made me worse and caused further problems. I can deal somewhat with the anxiety but even my husband was glad when i stopped the anti-d's. Talk to your doctor and waeigh up the options when you get them.
Getting to know you it sounds like you're a very hardworking and diligent person. Maybe a a trip/holiday if at all possible would do you a great justice. Can you get away for a weekend.
Keep up the good work and let us know how you're doing.
Boo
BikeBoo, biking with my boo since 1999
Of all the things i've lost, i miss my mind the most! But it has its advantages!
Fibro, spinal arthritis and all that goes with it.
GAD


TalktomeHIV
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 1539
   Posted 7/16/2009 4:27 PM (GMT -7)   
It sounds like you just have a lot going on, and having a family history of panic disorders gives you a little more vulnerability to experiencing it yourself.

You seem to have a strong and realistic handle on your situation, and the fact you've been involved with your doctor is awesome! Even if it seems like a mental health related condition, the first thing to do is always rule out medical stuff. From there, you can work with your doctor. Indeed, anxiety meds can be really helpful for people. Depression meds are a different ball game altogether, but don't get too scared about those either should you ever think you might need them down the line... Though some people do have adverse emotional reactions, there are countless others who are helped immensely by them. The key is keeping strong communication with the doctor about how you're doing on any meds you take.

I had severe anxiety and panic attacks through my high school years, to the point where I ended up being home tutored because my panic kept me from going to school. 10 plus years later, my panic is in a much better place, and I am much more able to deal with it, which I was able to do using therapy and learning relaxation techniques. If stopping drinking doesn't help, try some stretching, meditation, and yoga techniques. It sounds like you already keep in good shape, so these can be complementary to your existing workouts.

How about counseling? Have you ever talked to a counselor about your anxiety? Even if you only do it short term with someone specializing in anxiety/panic, you may be able to learn techniques that will help you gain more control over your anxiety.
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