Why Alcohol is Not A Solution for Social Anxiety

on Wednesday, 27 May 2015. Posted in Breaking News

It's normal to feel anxious from time to time, but for some people the anxiety that comes with everyday living can take a serious turn and become a disorder. There are almost 40 million adults in the U.S. living with some type of anxiety disorder today.

Living with anxiety in itself is a constant struggle. Many people who do look desperately for ways to cope with it, to make living life a little less painful. Unfortunately, that often means turning to drugs or alcohol. It's quite common for someone with an anxiety disorder to develop a drug or drinking problem.

Social anxiety, or social phobia, seems to be one of the disorders that often goes hand in hand with alcohol abuse. Almost half of people diagnosed with social anxiety disorder also have a problem with alcohol. The link between social anxiety and alcoholism is even more apparent with women. It seems that women struggle with finding a solution to social anxiety more than men do, and all too often turn to alcohol.

Social anxiety is described as an intense sense of nervousness and fear of being judged when in public or in any kind of social situation. While having a feeling of nervousness while speaking in front of a large group or being put into a new and unfamiliar kind of social situation is normal, people with social anxiety have much more intense feelings that border on extreme fear.

They may experience these fearful feelings in any social situation, such as eating in public, having a conversation in small groups, or just performing any other everyday activity in public. Social anxiety can make it extremely difficult for a person to live a normal life, complete basic life tasks, and have relationships or a career. The intense fear of being watched or judged by others makes getting through a normal day very painful.

This is why so many adults turn to alcohol to cope. A recent study that tracked adolescents with social anxiety for 14 years found that they were 4.5 times more likely to become dependent on alcohol than other adults. People with social anxiety may feel the need to drink more for a few reasons.

They may use alcohol in a social situation that is especially hard for them to feel more at ease and appear more confident to others. What starts out as a seemingly innocent way to relax around others can quickly get out of control, as they begin to rely more and more on alcohol to function in a variety of social situations.

The drinking habit that started out as a quick and easy way to relax around others may eventually end up making the problem worse. The link between alcohol and anxiety has been proven in several studies, so that while you may feel relaxed by drinking, the effects will wear off and leave you with even higher levels of anxiety than before.

Anxiety also becomes much harder to treat when there is also an alcohol dependency present. The combination of the two often leads to other emotional problems and health issues.

When you do decide to get treatment for social anxiety and an alcohol problem, be sure to choose programs that target both issues. Medication for anxiety, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy are the first steps to better managing your anxiety. This can be done in conjunction with a treatment program for alcoholism.


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