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Advised to drink alcohol


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Hi All,

I do not drink alcohol, never have done. I have tried to on several occasions but just can not accquire a taste for it. Occasionally now and then when I am in someones company and they have a new drink I will take a sip, that is the extent of it. You know I feel perfectly comfortable drinking water or sprite.

A number of years ago when I went to my g.p. with depression (mild) he prescribed me anti-depressants. He said to me that I could not drink alcohol when taking these tablets, I replied that I don't drink anyway. Well his comment to me then was "oh! so that explains how you are".

A few years later my brother-in-law also a g.p. was visiting from England. During a conversation he commented that it was good for people to take some alcohol. Now this was not in relation to "red wine is good for your heart" or anything like that, but to enable people to relax.

Then recently while telling my brother about my recent diagnosis of Social Phobia (he was already aware of my depression), he said to me that I should start to drink alcohol.

What do you think?

Edited by goose
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well it sure doesn't sound right to me. I know when I drink I may feel good at first and it does help socially but the more I drink the more depressed I become, it just never ends well for me, I wind up a mess that needs to be taken care of by others and than once I'm sober the next day I am so embarrassed of my behavior that I get depressed and anxious and worried all over again. But I think alcohol affects everyone differently, so you may just be a happy drunk, who knows. But my guess is if you tend to be depressed anyway the alcohol would only further depress you. Regardless, I am very surprised a doctor would recommend drinking as a means to get over a social fear.

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Guest ASchwartz


I want to assure you as much as I possibly can that alcohol is not at all helpful to dealing with social phobia, depression, stress or anxiety. Please dismiss the advice you were given. In terms of anti depressant medications, if you drink the medications will cause the alcohol to feel more powerful. In other words, if you have one drink it will feel like two drinks and if you have two, the medications will make it feel like four drinks. So, since you do not like alcohol, you are in good shape and just continue to stay away.

From Allan and very sincerely :)

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Good morning Goose,

Smallstar and Allan are 100% correct! Those advising you to drink are subscribing to what is called the "tension reduction hypothesis". There is no scientific evidence that alcohol reduces anxiety levels; however, there is plenty of research that suggests that based on its pharmacologic properties, alcohol should increase anxiety levels.

Positive expectancies that alcohol can relieve social fears may explain why some people experiment with alcohol as a coping strategy in the first place. If a person's expectancy that alcohol reduces stress is left unchallenged (i.e., by a clinician), it may be a powerful enough belief system to explain why a person continues to use alcohol to relieve stress (placebo effect??).

With respect to Alcohol and anti-depressants, yes the antidepressants can have an additive effect or be rendered ineffective; but, if you're taking an MAOI such as Nardil, Marplan or Parnate, the mixture of alcohol and the meds can result in blood pressure spikes that can cause a stroke.

What I've seen over the years is that the onset of social anxiety disorder nearly always precedes the onset of an alcohol related problems, often by more than 10 years (Randall et al. 2001 has publushed data on this). Because of this delay, this particular comorbidity is a primary target for intervention in order to prevent the development of an alcohol use disorder among those with anxiety disorders.

Hope this helps.

Edited by David O
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There are other ways to relax! If you don't like alcohol.... then don't develop a taste for it. I too think that was bad advice!

There is Yoga, Meditation, a massage, a nice hot bath, I like going to the chiropractor, there are calming teas, the scent of lavender is suppose to be relaxing, also exercise relieves stress... and more that I probably missed, like play with a puppy or kitten or even spend time watching a child play or discover things.

Alcohol intensifies my depression and for me that can be deadly. When I am depressed I get suicidal or homicidal. Since you don't drink , don't start!!!:)


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Thank you all for your comments.

I was quite annoyed with the comment from my brother. He is aware that I am currently having CBT and I felt his comment was undermining what I was trying to achieve through therapy.

Smallstar, I agree with you the doctors should not be advocating this. It furthers my belief that professionals in the mental health field are the proper people to diagnose and treat these conditions.

Allan and David thank you for your replies. It comes across very strongly that from you professional experience and proven scientific evidence this is definately not a road I should go down.

JT, I agree with you totally, there are many other ways to relax.


Edited by goose
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