Whether you’ve experienced an addiction or not, you probably have had the experience of feeling uncomfortable at a party or social event. Without a drink in your hand, you’re thoughts run wild about how you’re standing there by yourself, not talking to anyone, and how you must look like an idiot. You tell yourself that you’ve got to do something and so you walk over to the bar. You order a beer and suddenly you have two things going for you. One, you look slightly cooler holding a beer and two, the alcohol may eventually give you the courage to initiate a conversation with a stranger.
This is a common scenario that gets played out time and again, regardless of the social event. And it’s precisely why social anxiety and addiction tend to go hand in hand. However, as you can imagine, a person cannot rely upon drinking or drug use to make their way through social events forever. This is particularly true if someone is regularly using alcohol or drugs – even outside of social events. Sooner or later, if a person is drinking or using drugs consistently, an addiction may set in.
If problems arise in a person’s life, such as addiction, it’s important to get social anxiety disorder treatment. Just like getting medical treatment for the flu or for a broken leg, there is mental health treatment that can address the symptoms of social anxiety. First, find out whether you need social anxiety disorder treatment by exploring with a mental health professional whether your experiences qualify for a social anxiety disorder. Typically, social anxiety comes with the following symptoms:
- Heart palpitations
- Racing heart
- Overwhelming sensations
- Lump in the throat
- Shakiness in hands, head, knees, or elsewhere in the body
- Blurred vision
- Tightness in the chest
- Pain in the chest
- Ringing in the ears
- Shortness of breath
- Blushing or feeling flushed
- Tingling in the fingers, toes, and face
If you do in fact have this anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder treatment includes specific components to address the fear associated with social events. For instance, social anxiety disorder treatment may include:
- exploring specific causes of fear and stress
- providing coping tools when faced with anxiety
- facilitating insights into the experiences of fear and stress
- teaching relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing
- slowly exposing someone to a social situation so that triggers can be further explored
- slowly re-exposing someone to their triggers to eventually learn they are safe
Thousands of men and women have overcome their fears with social anxiety disorder treatment. However, it’s important to remember that if you’re experiencing an addiction, social anxiety disorder treatment alone isn’t going to help. In fact, experts stress the importance of getting treatment for both an addiction and a mental illness (such as social anxiety disorder) at the same time.
If you or a loved one needs help with addiction or social anxiety, contact a mental health professional for assistance! The sooner you get treatment, the sooner it’s possible to enjoy a life without anxiety and substance use.
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