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Prescribed Medication and Alcohol

Since taking my prescribed medication for panic disorder, I feel that I drink much more and more often and I lack energy or motivation to exercise or do anything.Q: I am a 28 year old female. When I was 23 I experienced my first panic attack. It took months before I was finally diagnosed with panic disorder and put on medication (Xanax & ). I am still taking Xanax but not Zoloft. I am taking Prozac instead (20 mg/day). I do not have panic attacks anymore but do experience some points of high anxiety at times. I am slowly trying to quit taking Xanax since I have been taking it for so long now. I am currently taking 1 mg/day. When I started taking the medication I was taking 5 mg/day. The reason I want to get off of Xanax is so I can have children some day.

Since I have been diagnosed with panic disorder and been on medication there are some things that have changed about me that I am disappointed about but can't seem to "control".

I drink almost on a daily basis (average 4 glasses of wine/day - give or take some). I have gained 40-45 lbs over a 3 year timeframe I don't have energy or motivation like I used to I don't exercise like I used to. When you look at these issues, it looks as though I may be an alcoholic or depressed? However, before I was diagnosed I did drink and could control my drinking (drank socially on weekends - didn't drink on week nights, didn't drink alone, didn't drink at home watching tv, listening to music, or cleaning house) Also, my weight gain obviously has something to do with the fact that I don't exercise anymore (I used to ride my bicycle and walk). I don't exercise primarily because I do not have the energy or motivation to. Please help! I need your advice.


A: We understand how you feel with the lack of energy and motivation. It is not unusual for us to become caught up in this cycle. Although you may feel you don't have the motivation - you do have it - you wouldn't have written to us if you didn't! Only we can break the cycle ourselves and there are a number of things you can do:

Sometimes the medication can contribute to the lack of energy. Have you spoken with your doctor? Perhaps you may need to change the anti-depressants again. We are concerned you are using prescribed drugs along with the alcohol. It is very important you discuss this with your doctor as there are a number of drugs prescribed for Anxiety Disorders/depression, including Xanax, which can't be mixed with alcohol.

Some people do have difficulty coming off Xanax. Our federal government recommends people taking Xanax or one of the other shorter acting tranquillisers transfer over to and once they have stabilised, slowly withdraw from the Valium. Valium can take the edge of the withdrawal.

You may also wish to talk with the chapter of AA in your area. They can be very supportive and many, many people with Panic Disorder belong to AA.

The way we think also can keep us down. Our self talk can be very negative and depressing - 'I can't do this. I have no energy. Why aren't I motivated? I hate myself like this. Why can't I change.' etc, etc. Not the greatest way to motivate yourself! What we need to do is acknowledge to our self, 'Yes, I have no energy and yes I don't feel motivated, but so what! I am going to begin to exercise despite it. Don't buy into your usual head talk. Just get up and walk or ride around the block. Make yourself do the same thing the next day and the next etc extending your walk/ride each day. Physical exercise is very important for all of us as we are recovering. As you begin to exercise you do begin to feel better and your energy does begin to come back.

As we said in the beginning - your motivation is there you just need to see it.

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APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2008, October 3). Prescribed Medication and Alcohol, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/anxiety-panic/articles/prescribed-medication-and-alcohol

Last Updated: July 1, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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