Social Anxiety Disorder is a disorder characterized by irrational and persistent fear of social situations. An individual can experience embarrassment or humiliation and become fearful of these experiences. For the socially anxious, it might seem better to avoid all social interactions than to risk feeling rejected or judged by others. Social anxiety usually begins in adolescence and is often associated with lack of social skills and experience in social situations. This inexperience often leads to distress and not wanting to be social with others. Many become immobilized by this fear leading to the disorder. Symptoms of the disorder include headaches, sweating, feeling flush, blushing, and faintness when in social situations. Due to these symptoms, many would rather avoid social situations altogether rather than risk embarrassment or humiliation.
Social anxiety negatively affects an individual’s life including their daily routine, school, work, and relationships. Interaction with others becomes difficult as they think others are talking behind their backs or that others do not like them. These negative opinions of others lead to the individual being unable to work with others and to have healthy relationships with their family and friends.
If an individual experiences social anxiety with a co-occurring substance use disorder, treatment can be a challenge. Treatment can already be an overwhelming experience for some in recovery, as there are 12-step groups, group therapy, and other social involvements that the individual will need to attend. The overwhelming fear of social involvement may keep the individual from receiving treatment.
There are alternatives and one such alternative is individual psychotherapy. An individual can receive the benefit of treatment without first having to engage in group discussions or attend 12-step meetings. Over time, as the social anxiety is addressed and treated, the individual may become more open to attending 12-step meetings.
The other option is to take a friend or family member to these meetings for added support. It is important to remember that no one in recovery is there to judge or embarrass anyone. Often, others are feeling just as anxious. One tool that might prove beneficial is telling the others in the group about your social anxiety. Sometimes this helps to alleviate the symptoms and allows one to still get the treatment they need.
If you have a co-occurring social anxiety disorder and substance use disorder, Hired Power can help. Through individual therapy and subsequent group work, you can begin your path to recovery. Call today (800) 910-9299.
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