If you've developed a problem with alcohol or other substance use from trying to cope with your social anxiety, you're not alone. Meet Debbie and Jason.
Debbie’s coworkers always asked her to go to Happy Hour on Fridays after work. When she reluctantly agreed, she routinely drank in the car before she even got to the bar. She thought it would loosen her up so she wouldn’t be so anxious around others.
Jason was trying to meet a partner using various dating apps. He had to drink before any of his dates because he was so anxious. Even so, he felt sick to his stomach.
Difficulty talking to others
Fear of judgement
Highly self-conscious feelings while in the company of others
Excessive worrying about an upcoming social event
Nausea when around other people
Trembling around others
Because alcohol is often readily available in social situations, it's an understandable coping strategy.
When you use alcohol or other substances to deal with social anxiety, two paths can emerge:
Regardless of which path your situation falls into, here are some important things to consider:
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I am the co-author of Dying of Embarrassment, Painfully Shy, and Nurturing the Shy Child. Dying of Embarrassment: Help for Social Anxiety & Phobia which was found to be one of the most useful and scientifically grounded self-help books in a research study published in Professional Psychology, Research and Practice.