The Role of Social Anxiety in Addiction

The Role of Social Anxiety in Addiction

The Role of Social Anxiety in Addiction

Social anxiety is a common nervous feeling that many people face daily. For example, an individual may experience social anxiety in different social settings, such as professional networking events, family holiday celebrations, and alumni events. Social anxiety can even affect individuals in their workplace, on a date, or in school. However, the role of social anxiety in addiction is, unfortunately, quite common. 

For some, social anxiety can be so severe that they, in turn, choose to use drugs and alcohol to cope with their feelings. It is important to understand that substance abuse can worsen anxiety, thus perpetuating a cycle of exacerbated symptoms and continued use. Therefore, surrendering to treatment at Restoration Recovery can help improve one’s mental health and promote long-term sobriety. 

What Is Social Anxiety?

As stated by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), social anxiety disorder is defined as experiencing intense paranoia. One may feel persistent feelings of being watched, judged, or scrutinized by others while in social settings. Social anxiety can affect just about every aspect of an individual’s life if left untreated. This can make it difficult to positively progress in important areas such as the workplace, continuing education, and making new connections with others. One may avoid new opportunities and prefer to stay alone to prevent any anxiety symptoms. 

Symptoms of Social Anxiety

Social anxiety can be very difficult to manage on a day-to-day basis. It can be highly distracting and extremely uncomfortable for some individuals. Pushing through the day just to sit home in comfort is not a healthy way to live. Learning to recognize certain triggers and symptoms can help one appropriately learn how to manage them in time of need. According to the aforementioned NIMH study, social anxiety symptoms may include: 

  • Profuse sweating, blushing, trembling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Having difficulty finding the right words
  • Stuttering words
  • Sour stomach
  • Speaking with an overly soft voice
  • Presenting a rigid body posture
  • Difficulty making eye contact 
  • Intense feelings of self-consciousness
  • Avoiding social settings 

What Is the Role of Social Anxiety in Addiction?

Depending on the severity of an individual’s mental health condition, one may use drugs or alcohol to help them better cope in social settings. Some individuals may drink with others to prevent feelings of being out of place. When awkward symptoms arise, it can be easy to blame the alcohol for odd behaviors presented during an anxiety attack. Others may choose to be discrete about using substances in public. For example, one may misuse stimulants for improved function and rapid relief in social settings. 

According to the Wiley Depression and Anxiety Journal, the presence of two or more mental health conditions, such as anxiety and mood disorders, are commonly linked with substance use disorder (SUD). Based on recent research and clinical studies, individuals self-medicate with substances to relieve their anxiety symptoms. Self-medicating may only bring temporary relief and result in a morbid cycle. Using drugs and or alcohol to cope may bring adverse outcomes such as: 

  • Increased psychiatric comorbidity
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Treatment utilization
  • Increased levels of stress and dysfunction
  • Lower health-related quality of life

Moving Forward With Acceptance

It can be difficult for an individual to accept they have social anxiety and seek help. Choosing to move forward with treatment can be the last thing on their list, as communicating with others may already be extremely uncomfortable. Different therapies can significantly improve one’s quality of life.

Individuals can learn effective tools to use when facing challenges with social anxiety in uncomfortable environments with others. Using new strategies outside of treatment can help individuals effectively communicate with others without intense feelings of self-consciousness. Surrendering to addiction treatment can also help individuals learn the skills needed to promote long-term sobriety. Everyone’s case is different, and that is perfectly okay. Choosing a facility that tailors their services to the individual’s specific needs can bring a more successful and positive outcome. 

How Can Restoration Recovery Help Treat the Role of Social Anxiety in Addiction?

Restoration Recovery treats addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions. One of them is social anxiety disorder. Our treatment facility uses a variety of treatment methods and modalities to help individuals recognize their triggers, cope with their uncomfortable symptoms, and overcome the cycle of addiction.

For those that are interested in more of a holistic approach, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and music therapy are just a few fun modalities offered. Depending on the severity of one’s condition, sometimes holistic therapies may just not be enough. Some individuals may benefit from individual therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in addition to meditative practices and more. 

Overall, if an individual takes time to understand their social anxiety disorder, seeks mental health and addiction treatment, and stays dedicated to healthy practices in early recovery, positive changes will gradually be seen. Everyone deserves to heal from professional direction and emotional support.

Social anxiety and addiction are quite commonly linked. Different clinical and holistic treatment modalities can help. Here at Restoration Recovery, we offer various types of care to emotionally and professionally support individuals facing challenges with addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions. We understand social anxiety can feel overwhelming for some individuals. Everyone deserves to live a comfortable life making connections with others. Begin your path to recovery in “peaceful mountain surroundings,” where you don’t need to put your life on hold for treatment. Since we are a device-friendly institution, you may continue to work and live your daily life during treatment. If you or a loved one is in need of professional support, call Restoration Recovery at (888) 290-0925 today.

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