Alcohol abuse and social anxiety are closely related. Many people that suffer from social anxiety abuse alcohol (self medicate with alcohol) without knowing that alcohol will make them more vulnerable and cause even more problems.
The relationship between alcohol abuse and social anxiety is very obvious when it exists.
Alcohol abuse doesn’t cause social anxiety, however social anxiety can cause an individual to start drinking and abuse alcohol eventually ending up being an alcoholic.
Why do people that suffer from social anxiety often self-medicate with alcohol?
Individuals afflicted by social anxiety go through great hardships and difficult times due to their disorder and they would do anything to help themselves. Alcohol, unfortunately, may seem as a “quick fix” because it helps them relax and eventually socialize with other people. However, alcohol may give a little in the beginning but it always takes everything in the end.
Jane was 22 when she contacted me for the first time. She suffered from social anxiety and was about to become a full time alcoholic. Her first e mail was ten pages long and filled with anger, pain and despair. Much worse than that, was that her heart was filled with hopelessness and her mind with ideas of suicide.
A short version of Jane’s first e-mail addressed to our counseling center:
“I don’t really know how this goes but my name is Jane, I’m 22 and I can’t live like this any more. I was always quiet and a good child. I never had many friends and the only thing I did in my whole life was studying and finishing one school after another. A year ago I graduated from college without ever going on a date.
Boys have always shown interest in me but, no matter how much I wanted to go out with some of them I couldn’t. I was terrified of them and I still am when I’m not under the influence of alcohol. About a year ago I started drinking with my friend and I discovered that I was not as afraid as I am when sober.
So, I started drinking, dating and having fun for the first time in my life! Everything was fine in the first couple of months but then I met this guy with whom I wanted to have a serious relationship with. It took me two weeks to realize that he thought that I’m an easy girl for causal sex and nothing more.
After confronting him he told me that whenever he sees me I’m either drunk or about to get drunk so it’s no wonder that nobody takes me seriously. In other words I was known as a drunken slut.
I am not a drunken slut! I abuse alcohol and I suffer from anxiety, but I’m not what they think I am. I’m a good person but I made mistakes because it was so good be alive, but truly be alive.
Now I realize that I was better off in my claustrophobic world without guys and fun… Is there anything I can do to help myself? How can I get rid of alcohol abuse and social anxiety and live my life as other girls my age? Does alcohol counseling really work? Does psychotherapy work? Will this counseling over e-mail work?”
Even though Jane was desperate she didn’t give up and she had many questions, which is always good. Now it is very easy to answer Jane’s questions. The answers to all of her question are “yes”. Yes, counseling by e-mail, psychotherapy and alcohol counseling do work but only if you put an effort in it.
Jane did put an effort in her treatment and she freed herself from alcohol abuse and social anxiety which made her better and stronger person.