Social Anxiety and Drug Addiction
Many people's lives have been negatively affected by social anxiety and drug addiction. When someone with social anxiety develops a substance use disorder, integrated treatment plans that address both will help them regain their sobriety, restore their confidence, and rebuild their self-esteem. For those who’ve been struggling with social anxiety and are now in a downward spiral thanks to substance abuse, there is hope of a better life.
Social anxiety disorder is a persistently disabling mental health condition that can make a person vulnerable to substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol change moods and emotions, and as a temporary response to social anxiety they may seem to deliver certain benefits.
But substance use is not a cure for social anxiety. Its effects will be brief and temporary and will not address the underlying problem.
When people use drugs or alcohol to excess, tolerance will build. This will force the user to progressively increase consumption to achieve the same effects. At some point, psychological and physical dependence will develop, turning substance abuse into a full-blown substance use disorder.
Social anxiety and addiction are serious, life-altering conditions. But both are amenable to treatment, if that treatment is offered in comprehensive form appropriate for multiple mental and behavioral health issues.
Co-Occurring Social Anxiety and Substance Abuse
People with social anxiety feel uncomfortable and unsafe in a wide variety of circumstances and environments because of their discomfort around people. The symptoms they experience can border on panic in many social situations, making it difficult to function and often impossible to create satisfying relationships. Their self-esteem is generally quite low, and they tend to see their social failures as a sign of their inferiority or weakness.
Social anxiety disorder is a mentally and emotionally exhausting condition. To alleviate their nervousness and lack of self-confidence, those who have it may consume alcohol or drugs before participating in social interactions. They may also take drugs or alcohol after an unsuccessful social encounter, as a way to escape from their feelings of guilt and inadequacy.
Such behavior may not be risky if it is only occasional. But too often, men and women with social anxiety problems are lured in deeper by the apparent relief they experience when taking drugs or drinking alcohol. They may feel trapped and without options, and they may convince themselves that their substance use is a reasonable response to difficult circumstances—which it is not.
Addiction is a logical outcome for those who self-medicate for social anxiety. Once things reach this stage, integrated drug addiction treatment is the only legitimate and effective remedy.
To be successful, however, that treatment must address both the substance use disorder and the social anxiety disorder, at the same time and with an equal focus on each.
Social Anxiety and Alcoholism
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that can cause feelings of calm and relaxation. It also tends to lower users’ inhibitions, making it easier to overcome fears and anxieties.
High anxiety in most social environments is normal for those who have social anxiety. This type of anxiety is also associated with overwhelming feelings of insecurity and inadequacy that may severely inhibit behavior. Consequently, the effects of alcohol may seem like a blessing to people with social anxiety, if it improves their functioning or leaves them feeling better about themselves for even a little while.
The problem is that alcohol’s positive effects will not be experienced for long, if it is misused in this way. Treating alcohol like it’s a medication that can be taken regularly will cause the brain to adjust to its presence, eventually creating physical and psychological cravings for alcohol that will be difficult to resist.
When dependency develops, the intensity of alcohol’s impact will fade. Use will become compulsive and driven by need rather than choice. Social anxiety will likely return in full force, since alcohol’s capacity to ameliorate its effects has been progressively reduced.
When you’re drinking has run out of control and has become compulsive and is damaging your life, you need treatment for alcohol addiction and you need it fast. World-class alcoholism recovery rehab include a full range of treatment for social anxiety as well, since both conditions will respond to treatment as long as you’re ready and willing to work for change.
Social Anxiety and Drug Addiction
Social anxiety will prevent those who have it from finding happiness and achieving their dreams. It can leave them feeling isolated and lonely.
In their desperation, some may turn to illicit drugs or illegally obtained prescription medications as a way to alter their conscious awareness and escape from their frustrations.
Under the influence of stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine, or prescription stimulants like Adderall, your mood may improve and you’ll be suddenly filled with energy. Your anxiety may decrease, and you’ll feel more powerful and in control than you did before. Conversely, if you use drugs that make you feel more peaceful and tranquil, like cannabis, opiates, or benzodiazepines, your anxiety may no longer seem so overwhelming.
But these effects are transitory. In the long run, drug use will impair your functioning even more than social anxiety. Tolerance will grow and addiction will develop, and as your use of illicit substances increases you’ll begin to feel weaker, sicker, and less prepared to cope with the daily challenges of living. Your social anxiety will quickly stop responding to your futile attempts to self-medicate, leaving you worse off than when you started.
In these circumstances, your outlook may seem bleak, but it is far from hopeless.
Comprehensive, evidence-based treatment can help you escape from the iron grip of addiction, while showing you how to cope with anxiety more effectively and responsibly.
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Social Anxiety and Substance Abuse Treatment and Outlook
Effective help for social anxiety disorder and drug and alcohol dependency is available. We’ve welcomed many clients struggling with the debilitating combination of addiction and anxiety, and we can show you how to move beyond your health problems and regain control over your future.
Treatment professionals will help you heal with a kind, caring approach that emphasizes practical strategies for dealing with social anxiety. They will lead you through a process that increases your self-awareness and self-confidence, which is essential if you’re to overcome the stress and low self-esteem that tends to reinforce social anxiety.
And your rehab services for addiction will be just as intense and focused on long-term healing. Evidence-based recovery plans help countless numbers of individuals put their substance abuse issues behind them, and the existence of a co-occurring anxiety disorder is not a barrier to a complete and lasting recovery.
In most instances, rehabilitation for those with a dual diagnosis will begin in a medical detox program. In a safe, comfortable clinical environment, your withdrawal symptoms will be managed to make sure their effects are minimized. Any other treatment services you require will be provided and you’ll remain under close medical supervision until your condition has stabilized and you’re ready to begin treatment.
Support from counselors, peers, and loved ones will help you come to terms with your substance abuse problems, which likely emerged from a number of factors even beyond your attempts to cope with social anxiety. Various self-help and self-development techniques will be introduced that can help you overcome your social anxiety, gradually but steadily. Addiction treatment services will be offered simultaneously, since this type of blended approach to recovery has been shown to produce the best results.