Stopping the Cycle of Social Anxiety and Substance Abuse

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Living with social anxiety causes someone to experience a great deal of discomfort in many different social settings due to feeling extremely uncomfortable in the presence of other people. For those suffering from social anxiety, the intrusive worry of being perceived negatively by others creates extreme distress while in their company. Talk therapy, mindfulness practices, or certain prescription medications are all excellent options for overcoming your social anxiety, but unfortunately, all too often, people turn to substance use or avoidance to treat the symptoms of their social anxiety.

The Problem With Substance Abuse and Social Anxiety Comorbidity

Using substances to dial down or mute the uncomfortable feelings caused by social situations is not a sustainable approach to treating social anxiety. One of the biggest problems posed by using substances to treat social anxiety is that continual substance use builds tolerance and requires an ever-increasing dose to achieve the same effects. Using substances to cope with social anxiety might build dependence and a cycle for substance abuse, only compounding the original problem for a person and distancing them further from any social circle.

As is often the case of substance abuse, many people turn to avoidance behaviors to escape feelings of nervousness, anxiety, and fear in the presence of others. Choosing to avoid social situations that promote anxiousness only perpetuates your anxiety, gives power to irrational fears, and prevents you from ever learning that your negative beliefs are not true. Only by dealing with your fears head-on can you truly overcome social anxiety.

Finding the Proper Treatment

Just because you regularly experience severe social anxiety doesn’t mean that has to be the case forever. Given the correctly tailored treatment approach, you can treat your social anxiety and finally live your life free from worry, fear, and anxiety. Treatment options available include talking therapy, like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which aims to identify irrational thought patterns and correct them by replacing them with realistic thinking.

Part of CBT treatment for social anxiety may include exposure therapy, where a person gradually increases their exposure to a situation to desensitize themselves. Certain medications like antidepressants can be used in whole or in part for the treatment of social anxiety. Drugs like benzodiazepines should not be used by people with a history of substance abuse.

Trying to escape your social anxiety doesn’t work and will only cause you further problems. By directly addressing your social anxiety through proven treatments like therapy or medication, plus treating any co-occurring substance abuse, you can finally experience lasting relief from nervousness, worry, and anxiety. It’s time to take the first step and end your struggle with mental health difficulties or addiction. At Avalon Malibu, our caring team of professionals will provide you with support and the right tools you need to overcome your mental health concerns or addiction. Allow us to heal your mind, body, and spirit with our unparalleled offerings of holistic and clinical treatment options. Call us today at (844) 857-5992.

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