Alcohol, Nicotine, & Other Drug Use Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other staff.


I gave up drinking last fall, smoking two months ago, and started dieting about 3 weeks ago. When will I level out emotionally? I'm like a walking time-bomb.


That depends in part on:


how much you were drinking and smoking before you quit
how psychologically and physically dependent you were on these drugs before you quit
what sort of diet you're on
what you're doing to achieve the desired effects you used to get from drinking and smoking


If you've quit drinking and smoking and have not done anything to replace them with other activities that provide some sense of escape, chilling out, or way to adjust your attitudes, you're going to stay pretty high strung and tense at times. Consider some alternative ways to manage your stress in a positive way (e.g., meditation, playing music, gardening).

Also consider the type of diet you're on. What you eat can have a big impact on how you feel and if you're on a low-fat, low protein, high carbohydrate diet, you may be making matters worse. Educate yourself about nutrition, develop a long-term goal of reasonable fat loss, and begin an exercise program (after consulting with your physician).

You seem to be making good decisions about drinking and smoking although without knowing you I cannot determine whether a fat loss program is necessary. However, how you're going about managing yourself, your stressors, and your food intake may need to be reconsidered. So keep up your efforts to make your lifestyle changes have a more positive impact on your life. Good luck!


Reid K. Hester, Ph.D.
Director, Research Division
Behavior Therapy Associates
3810 Osuna Rd NE Suite 1
Albuquerque, NM 87109
505.345.6100 ph
505.342.2454 fax
Behavioral Self-control Program for Windows


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