How Can Social Anxiety Feed Addictive Behaviors?

Addiction can be precipitated by countless life events and circumstances. Sometimes, however, the disease is fueled by one’s individual feelings and personal perceptions. A mental health condition known as social anxiety disorder can have a significant impact on such emotions.

Social Anxiety Disorder Overview

Many people have felt awkward in a social setting at one time or another. However, for some people, such uneasiness morphs into potentially crippling, life-changing fears. Mental health professionals label this phenomenon as social anxiety disorder or social phobia.


In an appreciable percentage of cases, social phobia does not occur seemingly out of the blue. Researchers maintain that the condition is often correlated to past events, such as:

*Unstable home environments
*Being the victim of physical or sexual abuse
*Witnessing extreme family conflicts

That said, any number of other traumatic experiences might trigger such feelings.


Internal precipitators might be simple fear of associating or conversing with people or performance anxiety, which involves demonstrating fear over executing any type of action in front of others. Even simple undertakings like entering a frequented venue or using a public restroom might cause impacted subjects major trepidation.

Actual physical and mental manifestations might include:

*Digestive issues
*Rapid heartrate
*Slow, soft, or stammered speech
*Increased self-consciousness
*Fear of being judged

The situation could progress to such a marked extent that afflicted persons might avoid social settings altogether.


Such avoidance might precipitate numerous untoward or life-impacting results, including isolation, depression, lost relationships, and limited employment opportunities.

The Connection Between Social Phobia And Addiction

Unfortunately, addictive substances like drugs and alcohol loosen inhibitions. Others quickly relieve tension. Therefore, individuals with social phobias find that substance use:

Induces Relaxation

Many of those with or without diagnosed social anxiety often rely on a couple of drinks or some type of tranquilizing substance to help shepherd them through perceived challenging settings.

When individuals are calmer, they tend to let their guards down and may not be as perceptive and vigilant about their surroundings or the believed motivations of others.

Inspires Confidence

Drug use often inspires substance-precipitated courage. Many people, especially those with social phobias might witness an immediate and appreciable confidence boost after ingesting any number of chemicals. Confident individuals are comfortable with themselves and are far less reluctant to experience trepidation in social settings.

Precipitates Specific Behaviors

Substance usage could precipitate behaviors sober individuals might not otherwise want or dare to engage in sober. For example, inebriated subjects might be more talkative or show no hesitation shaking their stuff on the dancefloor. Either activity might render their personalities more inviting or enticing and improve their social experiences.


Various substances increase one’s strength, volatility, and aggressiveness. These potentially negative attributes might yield increased confidence.

Managing Social Anxiety Without Drugs

Those coping with social phobias often stand at increased risk of developing dependency based upon how said actions offer relief of their condition in the short-term. That said, said addictions may worsen with time and create any number of other mental or health problems.

Therefore, identifying more fruitful, productive methods of managing one’s social anxiety is a critical endeavor. Fortunately, such objectives might be attained by:

Treating The Disorder

Arguably, the quickest and most direct way of avoiding perils of social phobia-related addictions is to address the malady head on.

Luckily, the mental health ailment might be overcome using various forms of therapy designed to help the stricken individual gradually integrate themselves into social settings and hopefully overcome their fears.

Avoiding Anxiety-Stimulating Products

Occasionally, avoiding products containing stimulants like caffeine might appreciably decrease one’s anxiety levels.


Some social phobia sufferers might benefit from a carefully managed course of medication therapy. Certain anti-anxiety preparations have proven effective in alleviating associated manifestations.

That said, such drugs may also possess addictive properties. Ergo, said substances must be taken under strict medical supervision and only as directed.

Getting Enough Sleep

Obtaining adequate rest is often paramount to reducing tension. A lack of sleep causes the body to release increased levels of stress hormones, which can heighten systemic tension precipitously.

Participating In Relaxation Techniques

Deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, tai-chi, and other relaxation techniques may produce optimal results.

Finding An Enjoyable Hobby

Social fears might also be alleviated through the participation in a fun or enjoyable hobby.

Reaching Out To Us

For further information about this topic or any other addiction-related issue, please reach out to us. Our southwestern Florida-situated treatment center boasts an impressive record helping addicts recover and looks forward to the opportunity to assist others. Call us at 844-639-8371.

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