Social anxiety disorder affects nearly 10% of American youth and about 7% of adults. Education regarding the links between social anxiety and drug abuse can help prevent addiction before it begins. However, the most common reason people with social anxiety drink or take drugs is as a form of self-medication. Reducing symptoms through substance use allows people with social anxiety to engage in life but with negative consequences. The best way to treat anxiety is not with a controlled substance. If someone you know has become addicted to alcohol or drugs to mask their social anxiety, they will need rehab, such as an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment program.
Once a person with social anxiety is in recovery, they can receive evidence-based anxiety treatment and FDA-approved medications that can greatly reduce their symptoms. To learn more about getting proper treatment, reach out to Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC) today. We have treatment options to help you or your teen with addiction and social anxiety in our dual diagnosis treatment center and outpatient addiction treatment program. We do not treat mental health issues alone, but we can provide support when they coincide with addiction. Call 844.442.8673 or use our online form.
Social Anxiety Signs and Symptoms
Some of the effects of social anxiety include:
- Extreme avoidance of social interactions
- Hesitancy or refusal to engage in social activities
- Easily triggered embarrassment over things others see as innocuous
- Fear of being shamed, mocked or made fun of
- Panic when asked or expected to speak in front of people they don’t know well
- Inability to make eye contact
As you can imagine, someone coping with the above will have a challenging time forging relationships outside their immediate family.
Anxiety disorder is different from typical social nervousness. A person suffering from social anxiety can become paralyzed in social settings and will often avoid them.
Social Anxiety and Relationships
It can be challenging to be in a relationship with someone who has social anxiety, as the person may show signs such as:
- Miss opportunities to meet potential friends or partners by avoiding social settings
- Be uncommunicative when they are in social situations
- Be unable to communicate clearly due to immobilization from the flight or freeze reaction
- Have such low self-esteem and fear rejection so intensely that they will avoid taking any chances
When you are in a romantic or friendly relationship with someone with a social anxiety diagnosis, they may become dependent or controlling. Your social life can take a hit. If your friend or partner starts using drugs or alcohol to overcome the barriers that social anxiety throws in their path, your social life may seem better at first. However, there is trouble ahead.
Anxiety and Drug Abuse
Teen social anxiety is prevalent in all walks of life. By law, teens must attend school, and the pressure to perform, speak up, and become involved can seem terrifying to a socially anxious teen. It is among teenagers where drug and alcohol dependence related to anxiety begins. What seems at first like a harmless social lubricant making life bearable can quickly become an addiction that controls every aspect of life.
About 20% of people with an anxiety disorder also have a co-occurring substance use disorder. When that happens, the challenges of anxiety are exacerbated by the challenges of dependence and addiction. Alcohol can actually cause or increase anxiety, as can other drugs like LSD or cocaine. Anxiety is also a symptom of withdrawal from almost all controlled substances, adding a layer of difficulty to coming off the drug.
Find Support at Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge
Our outpatient addiction treatment program is ideal for teens and others who have commitments that make residential rehab challenging. Our medically managed detox program and evidence-based therapies are provided in a safe setting. In addition, our compassionate practitioners make every modification to ensure that people with social anxiety remain comfortable and feel as secure as possible.
To learn more about how you or your teen can overcome addiction, improve relationships, and receive medically sound anxiety treatment, reach out to us today. We can answer any questions you have. Call us at 844.442.8673 or complete our easy online form.