Co-Occurring Disorders: Social Anxiety Disorder and Substance Abuse

Social Anxiety Disorder, also known as social phobia, affects about 15 million adults in America. In many cases, people suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder, or SAD, experience symptoms of the disorder for a decade before being diagnosed or accessing professional help. It goes beyond mere shyness. SAD can disrupt people’s lives to the point that they cannot maintain platonic or romantic relationships. People living with SAD believe that social interactions will put them under intense scrutiny, leading to feelings of shame and anxiety. To quell these uncomfortable sensations, many with Social Anxiety Disorder will abuse substances, turning SAD into a co-occurring disorder with drug or alcohol use. Fortunately, South Coast Counseling can provide treatment to improve the confidence and wellbeing of patients afflicted with the co-occurring disorders of Social Anxiety Disorder and substance abuse.

SAD Causes Shame

Social interaction is one of the basic functions of a healthy and well-balanced life. Throughout history, daily activities such as grooming, hunting, and eating have maintained human relationships with one another. Social Anxiety Disorder greatly affects these ritualistic interactions. They become unbearable for a person with SAD and cause further isolation. Rather than strengthening relationships, as they do for most people, they cause the SAD sufferer a degree of anxiety which they feel powerless over.

SAD Begins Early

People with SAD generally begin to display symptoms in childhood or adolescence. Early onset SAD reveals itself when children throw tantrums, clinging to their parents, and even cease speaking for periods of time. When SAD symptoms appear in adolescence, it can cause an abrupt halt in sociability and social activity at the precarious time surrounding puberty. This can disrupt the formation of friendships and first romantic relationships that many people explore at this stage of life.

Gain Back Your Life

Though many with SAD live with anxiety, embarrassment, and isolation for many years before getting help, there fortunatelyare methods for treating Social Anxiety Disorder and co-occurring Social Anxiety with substance abuse. Treatment involves an approach that combines medication, counseling and an education on coping skills to help the SAD sufferer address his or her social anxiety and its effect on the patient’s substance abuse problems. The treatment is designed to develop the patient’s confidence in social situations by becoming more comfortable with herself and better at communicating with others.

South Coast Counseling Can Help

South Coast Counseling treats both Social Anxiety Disorder as well as Social Anxiety Disorder as a co-occurring disorder with substance abuse. The most common substance abuse treatments that SAD co-occurs with are alcohol abuse and cocaine addiction. Using the three-fold treatment method described above, South Coast Counseling can help patients manage this chronic mental health condition and its co-occurring substance abuse problems to provide the patient with the tools to live a balanced, fulfilling life. patients with SAD often realize that their fears of social activity are unwarranted and illogical but feel helpless over the sense of anxiety social interaction causes in them. South Coast Counseling helps patients to overcome these obstacles, and as patients learn the skills to manage their social anxiety, they will form more positive associations with social interactions.

Learn more about co-occurring disorders, and contact South Coast Counselling to find out more about treatment options for Social Anxiety Disorder as a co-occurring disorder with substance abuse.

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