Does Alcohol help? - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-08-2011, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Does Alcohol help?


Whenever I've talked to people about my shyness, they always say the same thing, 'Knock a few drinks back and you'll be fine'.
But does it actually help?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-08-2011, 01:55 PM
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My experience was no. When I was forced to be at parties or social situations that I couldn't make a quick appearance and leave...if alcohol was served, I'd drink.

It gave me something to hold (so I knew what to do with my hands that didn't look awkward).

If I felt safe with the people but just needed to shave a little off the anxiety, it helped only a tiny bit. But that situation was so rare.

Mostly I just felt tipsy AND had all the negative feelings of social anxiety. I experimented by seeing how much it might take to feel better. I found, for me, no matter how much I drank, the anxiety didn't go away. And if I got out and out drunk, usually there was something to be embarrassed about the next day.

I came to the bitter conclusion last year that alcohol couldn't help me at all. So now I have one drink and that is it. Sometimes I skip it altogether, depending on how alert I feel I need to be in the situation. I actually feel better about it now. If I look unsociable and awkward, oh well. At least I didn't say things I didn't mean. At least I didn't look like a drunken fool, which I feel is worse.

Your mileage may vary. Try the one drink and see if that helps. Men can usually go with two drinks a day.

I'd be wary of "self-medicating" with alcohol, though. Try some supplements first, or see a doctor.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-08-2011, 03:14 PM
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It is quite sad to admit, but I pretty much owe my social life to alcohol. Actually, that's less true these days, but certainly in the past I would have not been able to socialise without it.

Unfortunately I would always drink to excess. On several occasions I have been so drunk that I've passed out and not remembered anything the next day. Recently though, reading about how such behaviour can in the long term lead to permanent cognitive deficits (particularly deficits in memory and working memory) has motivated me to give up getting drunk.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-08-2011, 03:20 PM
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I've found it sort of works with stopping the feeling of panic, but it definitely isn't a long term solution.

.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-08-2011, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oob View Post
It is quite sad to admit, but I pretty much owe my social life to alcohol.
Snap! My social life is revolving around going out and getting completely *****-faced. I am trying to reduse medicating with it, but its really difficult. Plus, the Irish culture, it is acceptable to go out all the time and get *****-faced...but for me is kinda different...i am using it as a coping mechanism and it can only add (un-needed) fuel to the fire.

But to answer you question, i think yes it can help your barriers to drop and become more sociable. I do it all the time, but i know its a problem at this stage.

The going out part, i would have to pre-drink. It would be very difficult for me to attend somewhere without consuming something before hand. alcohol is only going to make my situation worse.

"I'm the one that has to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life, the way I want to." - Jimi Hendrix
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-08-2011, 03:28 PM
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Hi, am new here. I did the same thing as Oob by using alcohol to socialize. It helps in the short term at the parties, bars, etc. And only if you don't need to be on the verge of passing out to get over the anxiety like me.

However, depending on alcohol to socialize all the time is like drug addicts needing their fix to get through the day.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-08-2011, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by naokoin3 View Post
...only if you don't need to be on the verge of passing out to get over the anxiety like me.
Yup, my tolerance is quite high also. That is another reason why i pre-drink before going out, so that i can get on a buzz quicker...which is not what i want but at this moment its how i cope.

"I'm the one that has to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life, the way I want to." - Jimi Hendrix
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-08-2011, 03:38 PM
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When I'm with my flatmates before we go out partying to the student union or whatever, I feel more calmer after I've drunk a bit. My SA would usually make me very nervous in such situations of being surrounded by a big group, I worry over how much I've gotten involved in conversations, if I've made a good example of myself on the night, etc. When I'm with alcohol though I find myself caring less and overall I have less stress, and more fun.
But I can have a good night sober, though it's rare because the majority of my best nights have come after I let myself go and not worry all the time (an assistance from a drink or 2).

"Hold your own, know your name, and go your own way, and everything will be fine" - Jason Mraz, Details in the Fabric
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-08-2011, 03:38 PM
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No, makes me feel horrible, probably one of the reasons I'm not more social, as going out in the UK revolves around getting smashed, and/or coked off your head, neither of which does anything for me.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-08-2011, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Elleinad View Post
Whenever I've talked to people about my shyness, they always say the same thing, 'Knock a few drinks back and you'll be fine'.
But does it actually help?

It can do, I've found it depends on what sort of headspace I'm in before I start drinking. It basically augments however I'm feeling. So If I'm content, I'm pretty amiable and more pro-social than I would be normally, but If I'm perplexed or anxious it just makes it worse and I can get a little withdrawn.

We come from a culture of heavy drinking, and not drinking simply because you're not in the mood can come off as snobbish, but it's better to be safe than sorry!

"I think the existential dilemma is: We're social animals, so we all wrestle with a sense of inadequacy. But when we realize that we're not as inadequate as we thought we were, and when we realize that everybody elese also thinks they're inadequate, then the ache goes away and the idea that we're not a person of value disappears to some extent."

"I wash myself with a rag on a stick"
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 11:10 AM
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I drank everyday. built a high tolerance. and soon found i couldnt function without it. Alot of times it caused anxiety the following day due to things that occured the night before. No need to have 2 disorders to deal with. Glad I stopped 5 years ago, now to deal with being who I want to be and doing things i want to do.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 11:23 AM
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interesting question, form some alcohol seems to be their life saver for others it simply doesnt work...i have a friend of the family that has drank beer as long as ive known him..he said he was very shy growing up and beer simply lets him unwind and allow him to enjoy socializing...he is 44 years old and been drinking since he was 17, never been to rehab and doesnt beat his wife etc etc...so for hi alcohol has defnitely helped..

it used to help me, i used to love getting drunk but now it just mkes me feel numb and dumb...not a good feeling when you are social or want to be social..
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Whenever I've talked to people about my shyness, they always say the same thing, 'Knock a few drinks back and you'll be fine'.
But does it actually help?
Dear God, yes. Of course, you also have to put yourself in a social situation to take advantage of it.

And yeah, like the other poster said, I started overdrinking way too much. I practically gave up drinking 2 years ago... then my limited social life basically evaporated and I have become more and more isolated since.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 11:26 AM
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I Hate to say it but it does really help me become more comfortable and talkative with people. But if I'm out at a bar or club I usually take it too far and wake up feeling embarrassed the next day about being drunk and feel like I must have made an a** out of myself which is probably true.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 11:33 AM
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I've found that you have to become very drunk in order to have the effect you desire (saying and doing whatever you want with putting through a thought filter,) but at the cost you can't really control your actions its more like you're sitting in the passenger seat of your own body along for the ride. If you are going to drink don't half-*** it (drinking just enough to get the nerves down) because you'll still be a wall flower-you have to commit. But its safer and smarter to get yourself on an anti-anxiety med. like zoloft.

Expect everything and anything feels like nothing...expect nothing and anything feels like everything.
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