Social anxiety disorder linked to alcoholism, finds study

Social anxiety disorder linked to alcoholism, finds study

April 04, 2019

Social anxiety disorder linked to alcoholism, finds study

Anxiety Mental Health

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) may have a direct association with alcoholism compared to other anxiety disorders, found a recent research published in the journal Depression and Anxiety in March 2019. The researchers interviewed 2,801 adult Norwegian twins and assessed social anxiety disorders, alcoholism, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, and other specific phobias in them.

It was found that social anxiety disorder was strongly linked to alcoholism and that it predicted alcoholism over all other anxiety conditions. Additionally, in comparison to the other anxiety disorders, SAD was also linked to the risk of developing alcoholism later in life. The study findings suggested that interventions aimed at preventing or reducing the symptoms of social anxiety disorders may also help in curbing alcoholism.

Lead study author Dr. Fartein Ask Torvik from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health stated that a lot of people grappling with social anxiety disorder are not under a treatment plan because of which there is an underutilized pool of people, in whom, along with the anxiety, even alcoholism could be treated. Torvik further stated that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with measured exposure to fearful situations could also yield positive results.

Tips for dealing with social anxiety disorder

For a person dealing with social anxiety disorder, it could unnerving to attend an after-office party, a reunion with college friends or simply a holiday dinner with family. In order to calm their nerves and self-medicate their symptoms, such people would be drawn towards alcohol. However, if an individual is successful in finding ways to deal with their social anxiety, then they might not have to resort to alcohol. This would also allow them to network better thereby improving and strengthening their chances of personal as well as professional growth as an individual. Some of the ways of dealing with a social anxiety disorder are:

  • Easing into social situations – While one might find respite in the comfort of one’s home, it is also important to attend small get-togethers to avoid loneliness. One might take the initiative of inviting a few people over and start getting comfortable with small groups. Gradually, one can ease into bigger groups.
  • Preparing talking points before an event might help – It is always helpful to have a few conversation starters in mind. While prepping for an event, one might learn about the guests who would be visiting, the weather in general, latest plays and movies broadcasted in the city, new restaurants, latest football game, etc., to keep the conversation going.
  • Laying off the caffeine – Some people think that a cup of coffee might relax them which is a myth. Coffee is a stimulant, therefore, it is best avoided before a social event as it may aggravate one’s anxiety. Similarly, one should also steer clear of alcohol before attending any social event.
  • Getting plenty of sleep – Sleep deprivation causes a lot of stress and does not allow one to concentrate on anything. Therefore, one must ensure that they get plenty of sleep before becoming a part of any social event.
  • Identifying negative thinking patterns – It is important to identify negative thinking patterns and convert them into positive affirmations every time they hit so that they do more good than harm. Negative thinking can fuel social phobia and can make one anxious.

Seeking treatment for social anxiety

Resorting to alcohol and other substances to combat social anxiety can result in a downward spiral. It may also lead to the development of short- and long-term effects such as isolation and the development of other mental disorders like depression, phobias, and suicidal ideation. Social anxiety is for real and it necessitates seeking professional treatment at a credible mental health rehab.

If you or a loved one is battling anxious thoughts or any other mental disorders, get in touch with the Invictus Health Group. Call our 24/7 anxiety treatment helpline 866-548-0190 to learn more about our certified anxiety treatment centers. You can also chat online with our representatives to understand what kind of anxiety treatment programs are offered and to get an anxiety treatment program tailored to suit your needs.

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