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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
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Anxiety and Alcoholism and Stigma

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Apr 9th 2008

 The April 2008 edition of the Journal of Neuroscience reported an important finding linking anxiety with alcoholism. The research seems to confirm the widely held theory that many people drink as a way to self medicate their problems. In this case the problem that is being medicated away is anxiety. What is also significant about the findings is that this very same mechanism of reducing anxiety makes withdrawal from alcohol difficult because anxiety increases as people withdraw.

It seems that researchers have discovered that for some people with anxiety disorders and who are exposed to alcohol usage undergo a change in their DNA, the foundation stone for their chromosomes. This then causes minor chemical changes in the brain that makes withdrawal and from alcohol use much more difficult than for others.

Once again, it seems evident that addiction is a genetically based disease and not a problem of poor choice and low morals.

Research is centering on new forms of medications that can relieve the increased anxiety associated with alcohol withdrawal that makes sobriety difficult for those individuals.

It is my hope that as more research is done and more is learned about the addictions the stigmatization of those with addictions will end. This along with the broad tendency to stigmatize those with mental illnesses is very damaging.

What are your thoughts?

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at dransphd@aol.com for details.

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    anxiety drugs - Joan Sura - Oct 7th 2010

    Remember that if the anxiety defeats you, he is because yet not these ready to go out further from the illness, this marks findrxonline in the anxiety topic in one of his articulos that is very read, really this is true, because one thinks he is able assimilate it calmly but, reality is very different and needs apo I and willpower, we remember that the our health care is important and also it is important for whom surround you.

    ANY ONE LIKE THIS? - - Apr 10th 2008

    I DO NOT CONSIDER MYSELF AN ALCHOLIC NOW, BUT I DO THINK ALCHOL PLAYS A BIG PART IN THE REASONS WHY I SUFFER FROM ALL THE SYMTOMS THAT IS MENTIONED.

    I DID ABUSE DRINKING WHEN I WAS YOUNGER VERY MUCH AND BELIEVE THAT I AM PAYING FOR IT NOW.(15-18 YEARS OLD)

    I AM A VERY KIND PERSON, BUT ALWAYS FEEL THAT EVERYONE IS JUDGING ME, DONT LIKE ME, TALK ABOUT ME. IAM VERY INSECURE,AND SENSITIVE TO EVERYTHING.

    TO BE QUITE HONEST I FEEL THAT I DONT KNOW WHO I AM,HOW TO ACT,WHATS WRONG,WHATS WRITE, AND OF COURSE I AM ALWAY SEEKING WAYS TO LEARN FROM WRITE AND WRONG.

    THE WORST THING THAT I SUFFER FROM IS ANGER, AND STRESS,BUT THE PAST FEW WEEKS I HAVE BEEN DEPRESSED.MY MOODS CHANGE CONSTANTLY. MY MOODS EVEN CHANGE WITH THE WEATHER OUTSIDE. MY BODY FEELS LIKE THE WEATHER. i DONT KNOW IF THAT MAKES SENCE.(MAKES SENCE TO ME).

    I FIND MY SELF IGNORING OTHERS JUST BECAUSE I GET SO UNCONFORTABLE BEING AROUND THEM, THINKING THAT IAM ALWAYS JUDGED.EVEN SOMTIMES CANT GET THE COURAGE UP TO MAKE A SIMPLE PHONE CALL TO THANK SOMEONE FOR SOMTHING THEY HAVE DONE FOR ME.

    i HAVE ALOT OF THINGS GOING ON. I TRY TO IGNORE THEM HOPING THAT ONE DAY THEY WILL JUST DISAPEAR AND I WILL GO RITE BACK ON TRACK LIVING NORMALLY,BUT FOR SOMEREASON I DONT THINK ITS GOING TO HAPPEN.

    SOME DAY...............

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