Q&A: Are there any medications for anxiety and alcoholism?

Ask A Doctor Question: 

Dr.'s my husband has been to rehab twice I don't believe they are fixing the underlying problem the anxiety so?.my question is is there a pill he could take for this that will help him with the anxiety he fills to want to drink and one of the things I notice is when he drinks he is a happy energetic person and when he doesn't drink he's lazy and never wants to do anything(he does not usually have hangover effects) although that might be how it sounds before drinking he has no energy. I just feel like there has got to be a medicine he needs to try even when he went into rehab they said he was perfectly healthy and did not have to detox It really is amazing to his family although he is 6'5 about 190lbs. Is there any meds. he could try without pulling him down and making him feel tired he also runs a very important company. Please Help!!!!

- Valerie


Douglas Beech, MD -

Anxiety disorders do commonly co-occur with substance use disorders, including alcohol. When both are present, there is often the "Which came first?" conundrum, and often this cannot be definitively determined. Most clinicians approach this dilemma in a sequence, and try to establish a hierarchy of priorities, and most would likely place the removal of alcohol as the first priority. If symptoms of anxiety persist and a diagnosis of anxiety disorder is made, then there are a variety of potential treatment options. Treatment may include medication, and various kinds of psychotherapy. A combination of psychotherapy and medication is often recommended. 
As with most conditions, there are usually a lot of different factors in the mix with any one individual patient, so an in-person assessment is necessary in order to determine the appropriate treatment options for a particular individual. Factors such as family history, personality traits, available supports, and treatment resources all have to be taken into account.

--Douglas Beech, MD
Bexley, OH


Diane Michelle Edmond, MS, LPC, CAC D -

There are medications that help with anxiety.  Since I am not a psychiatrist I am not in a position of being able to recommend specific medications.  Since your husband is also struggling with substance abuse issues I suggest you look for a psychiatrist that is also a addictionologist so that both issues can be addressed. 

--Diane Michelle Edmond, MS, LPC, CAC D
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