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Can Frequent Partying Cause Anxiety?

From Finland: In the last year or so, I’ve been partying more than usual. I have not been drinking daily or medicating anxiety with alcohol (I have a history of anxiety), only on friday OR saturday (never both), but definitely drinking more than is healthy. Put it this way: there have been fairly few weekends over the last 6 months where I have been sober all the way through. My hangovers tend to be really bad. I have noticed in the past that sometimes, the day after a hangover, my anxiety tends to flare up and it sometimes lasts for nearly a week.

About 3 weeks ago, after a party with some friends, I had a flare of anxiety and somewhat depressive feelings that didn’t end with the actual hangover. It’s been kind of up and down since, and always gets worse after drinking. I’ve already decided that the cork is staying closed at least until New Years.

So I suppose my actual question is: is it possible that having so many successive weekend sessions of quite heavy drinking have caused a sort of cumulative effect that has then triggered my anxiety? I’ve found I have some vaguely depressive symptoms in this period, which kind of scares me, because depression in general scares me. I always feel like I can deal with anxiety, but depression just somehow seems more frightening as a concept. I suppose this is another way in which my anxiety shows its face; by causing a fear of developing a depressive disorder.

In any case, I am definitely scaling back the parties. I’d just like to know a professionals opinion on how alcohol effects these things, and if the aforementioned multiple successive parties could be a component in my own case.

Thank you

The simple answer to your question is “yes”. Alcohol abuse can lead to anxiety. And, yes, you have been abusing, not using alcohol. A study done by the Medical School at the University of North Carolina showed that excessive drinking can lead to the rewiring of the brain. This can make an individual more susceptible to the development of anxiety problems.

I hope you can in fact put the cork back in the bottle. Scaling back may not be enough. You may need to strictly limit your drinking. You may need some help to do it. If so, do look for a therapist who can treat both the anxiety and the alcohol abuse.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

from Ask the Therapist

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