Social anxiety is one of the most common reasons why people turn to alcohol. They find that they need a little extra courage when they are dealing with a stressful social situation, so they pour themselves a strong drink. It’s something that is practically normalized within our culture, and having the occasional drink during a social gathering seems harmless for most people. Unfortunately, it’s easy to rely so much on alcohol to cope with social anxiety that it becomes a crutch. You might eventually find that you can’t function in any stressful scenario without alcohol, which is a serious and all-too-common problem.
The good news is that there is always treatment available for those who want to get sober. No matter how bad things may seem and how reliant you are on alcohol, you can overcome your addiction. Part of this treatment is learning healthier ways to cope with your anxiety. Here are a few things that could help.
The best way to manage your own anxiety is to learn as much as possible about social anxiety and how it really works. Everyone experiences anxiety differently, and not everyone recognizes an anxiety attack when it happens. By educating yourself on common anxiety attack symptoms as well as your own stressors, you can develop strategies and a plan for when you feel like your own social anxiety is out of control.
2. Having a Strong Support Network
A strong support network can help you manage your anxiety when it is at its worst. Nobody should have to go through alcohol treatment alone, just as nobody should be expected to cope with their anxiety on their own. Your friends and family may not have the same problems and issues that you do, but they can provide support when you need it the most.
3. Considering the Worst-Case Scenario
It’s easy to assume that the worst-case scenario will absolutely happen when your anxiety is at its worst. It might be easier said than done, but you have to tell yourself that most of the nightmare scenarios you’re envisioning are incredibly unlikely. Keep those scenarios in mind or write them down. You’ll almost certainly find that what actually does happen isn’t nearly as bad as what you’re dreading, and that your fears are ultimately unfounded.
4. Getting Professional Help
The thing that ultimately drove you to seek treatment may have been your drinking, but no substance abuse problem is without its underlying causes. If the underlying cause of your drinking is your social anxiety, you can address that with a therapist. This kind of therapy will most likely be a part of your rehab anyway, but you can still seek professional help after you’ve completed your program. Social anxiety is something you will likely live with for the rest of your life, and having a professional to help you face it and give you new coping mechanisms can ensure that you stay healthy and happy without resorting to drugs and alcohol again.
5. Facing Your Fears
Once you feel like you can handle it, you can try facing your fears and anxiety head-on. While you shouldn’t push yourself too far outside of your comfort zone too quickly, you can still put yourself into social situations that might usually cause you anxiety. This is something you might want to try in conjunction with some of these other tips though. For example, if you’re going to a party with people you don’t know, bring a friend you can trust who will understand if you start to feel overwhelmed. In any case, you need to be aware of your own limits so you don’t push yourself too hard. That could cause you to relapse and go back to drinking.
One of the most important things to remember when seeking treatment for any addiction is that there are always underlying causes. Social anxiety is a major reason why people turn to alcohol, and you need to address this if you want to be sober and happy.
As always, don’t hesitate to contact us for information about our treatment programs if you or anyone you know is struggling with alcoholism. No matter how hopeless things may seem, help is always available. Call us today at 833-610-1174.