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Quit alcohol, withdrawal symptoms, depression, anxiety, diminished libido

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Practicing since : 2002
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Hello, I m 35 and was regularly drinking moderately to heavily for the past 10 years. I have quit alcohol recently about 6 month ago and went through a range of withdrawal symptoms (shakiness, depression, anxiety,etc ); these symptoms however has reduced and come back when ever I have even a small amount of alcohol after a long period of abstinence or when I m under stress related to work. Is this normal??? I have also felt that I have a diminished libido than say an year ago. Do you think abstinence from alcohol after a long period of abuse leads to sexual issues...? Kindly provide some info and some solutions that can help me.
Posted Sat, 14 Apr 2012 in Smoking and Alcohol Addiction
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 13 hours later
Hello and thank you for the query.

Your question is a very good one and I will work on providing you with good information and recommendations regarding what is going on.

As you have stated in your question your body was accustomed to alcohol on a regular basis for many many years. You've changed to a period of abstinence for a significant period of time. When this kind of thing goes on the body needs to adjust to a significant number of conditions.

This adjustment involves regulation of liver enzymes as well as kidney function and electrolyte balance within the body. The alcohol which was in your system is actually a toxic substance. Over time your liver probably endured a significant degree of damage. The liver is a very strong organ however, and can sometimes regain normal function after alcohol is withdrawn from the picture. I am sure your liver function is close to normal if not completely normal by this time.

In your case is absolutely necessary that you abstain from alcohol for the rest of your life. The fact that alcohol helps you calm down is something we need to take note of but it is certainly necessary that you do not use alcohol as a drug. Alcohol needs to be removed from your life completely. There really is no potential benefit in continued drinking. You run the risk of collapsing back into a state where you become dependent on alcohol. We know this from years and years of studies regarding alcohol dependency. It may not be normal to have such symptoms after abstinence. I suggest a complete health check up with an XXXXXXX Medicine Specialist if you have not thoroughly followed annual physicals.

Regarding sexual function this is more likely something that has to do with age as well as circumstances of stress and anxiety. There are many men in your age group who have issues with sexual function including libido and erectile function. Abstinence should improve on sexual function over a period of time, it should not reduce the libido or the hardness of erection.

The best treatment for this is to change your diet to one of a very well-balanced regimen of fruits and vegetables and lean meats. In addition you must start and exercise regimen including 40 min. to one hour of strenuous aerobic exercise 4 to 6 days per week. Over time this will increase your strength as well as your virility. This is not an easy solution and it is certainly one that requires a significant degree of discipline. If you are committed to improve your life. However this is something which you certainly can handle.

I do not recommend any medications at this time for you I think it is certainly important for you to modify your lifestyle. The exercise regimen will also help you take care of some of your anxiety. Your response to be helpful and informative. If you have any additional concerns I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Robert.
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