The Connection Between Social Anxiety and Substance Abuse

Social anxiety and substance abuse represent two common co-occurring disorders. People who struggle with a social anxiety disorder or acute social anxiety may be likely to self-medicate with alcohol, especially so they can feel more at ease and less anxious in social situations. In most cases, people self-medicate regularly, leading to tolerance and addiction.  Social Anxiety and Substance Abuse: Self-Medicating Anxiety is a common emotion experienced by people in various situations throughout life. However, for some, anxiety becomes much more severe than this, manifesting as a legitimate mental health disorder.  There are different types of anxiety disorders, and a diagnosis for one or more comes from your primary care physician. Some anxiety disorders overlap, and it is common for people struggling with anxiety to have more than one disorder, such as social anxiety and panic disorders.  Social Anxiety Disorder Social anxiety disorder involves intense and regular fear, particularly around social situations. This fear often involves a fear of being judged by others, and it can be so intense that individuals with a social anxiety disorder avoid social situations altogether. Those who don’t might try to control some of their symptoms or hide them with drugs or alcohol.  Symptoms of a social anxiety disorder include the following: It’s common for people who struggle with social anxiety to also experience feelings of fear, irritability, problems concentrating and sleeping issues. These feelings can be significantly disruptive. Let’s look at example: Someone who knows that they have to attend a company party in three months might start feeling anxious now, and over the next three months they may struggle with anxiety that gets significantly worse as the event approaches.  In this example, that same individual might have trouble concentrating, and this can lead to sleep problems. Poor concentration can cause problems at work. Poor sleep quality can result in irritability, which increases the fights they have with their partner or their children and makes them generally unpleasant to be around. This can compromise the safety of driving to and from work as well.  Getting Professional Help for Anxiety Drug Abuse If you are struggling with social anxiety and substance abuse, you can find treatment programs that specialize in care for co-occurring disorders. These programs are called dual diagnosis treatment. At The Differents, a trusted drug rehab in Reno, you can get help for anxiety drug abuse with several levels of care, including: No matter which level of care you choose at our luxury addiction treatment center, social anxiety and substance abuse are best treated with our Nevada dual diagnosis treatment program, where the symptoms of addiction and anxiety can be treated simultaneously. These programs include several types of evidence-based practices, from individual and group therapy sessions to holistic treatment. Holistic care and therapy can provide the coping skills needed to control the symptoms of social anxiety without turning to drugs or alcohol.  Detox Treatment for anxiety and substance abuse starts with detox, where you can flush out any remaining compounds from your substance abuse and tackle your long-term recovery from a sober starting point. Therapy Therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective way to treat anxiety disorders. Acceptance and commitment therapy or other psychotherapy might focus on relaxation techniques that you can use when you struggle with acute symptoms of social anxiety or how to cope with your symptoms without using drugs and alcohol. Medication In certain cases, medication like benzodiazepines or beta-blockers might be used to help you manage symptoms. You may use these for acute symptoms that arise before a social setting or even for long-term management.  The right type of dual diagnosis treatment can offer solutions for managing both addiction and social anxiety in a sober and successful fashion. Contact The Differents today to learn more about our dual diagnosis programs for anxiety drug abuse.