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Effective Techniques for Managing Social Anxiety in Recovery

Managing social anxiety in recovery may seem like an impossible task. However, understanding this condition and creating a solid action plan can go a long way toward helping you overcome it.

Managing Social Anxiety: A Complex Issue

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), social anxiety disorder is characterized by the “persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others.”

If you have social anxiety, you may live with a fear of acting in a way that is embarrassing or humiliating. Instead of being subjected to this perceived shame or pain, those with social anxiety disorder may choose to withdraw from social situations completely.

Social Anxiety Disorder Facts and Statistics

According to the publication Social anxiety Disorder by Gregory M. Rose and Prasanna Tadi, social anxiety disorder has a “worldwide prevalence of five to ten percent.” The worldwide rates are comparable to those in the United States. Social anxiety disorder prevalence rates in children are similar to those in adults, and women are commonly affected more than men.

The authors also mention that social anxiety disorder is the “third most common mental disorder behind substance use disorder and depression.” In fact, social anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorder there is. When you have both a mental health disorder or substance use disorder along with social anxiety disorder, it can be very hard to manage your symptoms on your own.

Social Anxiety and Addiction

Anxiety disorders like social anxiety disorder and addiction commonly co-occur. This is an extremely complex relationship that can be caused by multiple factors. For one, many people in active addiction can actually develop anxiety as a result of substance use. Others may turn to substances in an effort to self-medicate anxiety that has been apparent in their life for a while.

Social anxiety, however, may work differently. According to a 2013 article in Social Work in Public Health, the “average onset of social phobia is before adolescence.” Because of this, symptoms of social anxiety will usually precede drug or alcohol use. One study even found the onset of social anxiety disorder to precede the onset of alcohol use disorder by 90.2%.

A Dangerous Cycle

You can be especially anxious when you’re in withdrawal. As a result, many people will return to alcohol or another substance to curb anxious feelings. This is a dangerous cycle that can lead to health complications and even death if you don’t seek the proper treatment.

If you turn to substances as a way to self-medicate social anxiety disorder, this can also lead you down a dangerous road. Eventually, you can end up with both social anxiety disorder and an addiction.

Managing Social Anxiety for the Long-Term

The first step in managing social anxiety is simply deciding that you’re ready to address it. It’s also important to be gentle with yourself through this process. It will take as long as it takes for you to regain control.

According to the previously mentioned journal article, current treatment recommendations for social anxiety disorder include medication like SSRIs or beta-blockers combined with “integrated psychosocial treatment.” However, medication is not for everyone, nor is it the only way to overcome these issues.

Getting to the Root of Social Anxiety

Many anxiety disorders, and even addiction, are often rooted in past traumatic experiences. According to a 2012 article in the Journal of anxiety Disorders, etiological models of social anxiety disorder “suggest that early childhood trauma contributes to the development of this disorder.”

The journal article pointed to studies that investigated childhood trauma in social anxiety disorder. Many suggest that “parental emotional abuse toward the child” like yelling, swearing, and non-physical aggression, as well as emotional neglect, may be related to the development of social anxiety disorder.

For these reasons, it’s important to get to the root of social anxiety disorder through trauma-specific treatments.

Managing Social Anxiety at The Guest House

Trauma-specific programs like those at The Guest House are crucial for managing social anxiety in recovery. Here we combine tried-and-tested traditional therapies with holistic modalities to help you overcome social anxiety and addiction in a comprehensive way.

Talk Therapy

If you’re struggling with social anxiety, it can be helpful to begin talking about your condition with a trauma-specific therapist. In individual therapy, you can start getting to the root of your issues. You will also learn how to break the ice between yourself and another person in a nonintimidating way.

Group therapy is another powerful modality where you can learn how to open up to others in a safe environment where you won’t be judged or criticized. We conduct this therapy in small groups. This can be extremely helpful as you’re learning how to manage social anxiety disorder.

Group therapy may feel frightening at first, and that’s okay. Always remember there is nothing wrong with you. It’s also important to be easy with yourself as you learn to open up to others.

Holistic and Adventurous Modalities

At The Guest House, we take pride in our wide range of holistic modalities to complement your time in talk therapy. There are many different ways you can stretch yourself to new heights as you learn to build community and develop life skills alongside others.

Adventure therapy is an excellent tool to help you overcome social anxiety and learn to live an addiction-free life. This program brings together a group of individuals who all have the same goal of accomplishing an adventurous activity or task.

Lastly, we also offer therapies to help you reconnect with yourself and process trauma on a mind-body level. Meditation, breathwork, and more can help you rediscover a sense of inner peace and help you on your journey toward managing social anxiety for good.

Managing social anxiety may seem impossible, especially when you’re in recovery. However, with the right plan, you can rediscover a sense of safety and joy in your life. At The Guest House, we employ a wide variety of therapies to assist you in your journey of overcoming social anxiety and addiction. Our trauma-specific program will help you get to the root of social anxiety disorder. You’ll also learn how to open up to others through talk therapies. Our holistic programs and activities like adventure therapy can help you learn how to work with a group toward a common goal and have a lot of fun at the same time. For more information, call us at (855) 483-7800.