Social Phobia vs. Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Phobia vs. Social Anxiety Disorder

Thursday, August 17th, 2023

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Social Phobia vs. Social Anxiety Disorder

Thursday, August 17th, 2023

Social Phobia vs. Social Anxiety Disorder

social anxiety disorder

At Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services, our mission is to shed light on misunderstood or lesser-known aspects of mental health such as social phobia and social anxiety disorder. This post will define the nuances between the two and explain their connection with substance abuse.

What Is Social Phobia?

Social phobia is a somewhat outdated term used to describe people with an intense fear or dread of social situations. If you have social phobia, you might be unwilling to perform tasks in front of others out of fear of embarrassment or negative judgment. For instance, public speaking, eating in front of others or attending large gatherings can be daunting tasks for someone with social phobia.

Social anxiety disorder is a more comprehensive diagnosis than social phobia. While the intense fear of social situations remains consistent, social anxiety disorder digs deeper into the underlying anxieties. People with this condition may worry about upcoming social situations for weeks in advance and can even experience physical symptoms like nausea, sweating or shaking in public settings.

The shift in nomenclature from social phobia to social anxiety disorder in the medical and psychological communities has largely been in recognition of the broader spectrum of symptoms and experiences socially anxious people face.

Connection With Substance Abuse

Substance use can become a coping mechanism for socially anxious people. For example, alcohol is a “social lubricant” that can temporarily relieve anxiety, lower your inhibitions and bring you out of your shell. However, these short-lived effects can lure you into a cycle of dependence.

  1. Self-medication: Many people turn to alcohol or drugs to manage the overwhelming feelings associated with social situations. While they might feel better in the short run, substance abuse doesn’t address the root of the issue.
  2. Increased isolation: A worsening substance use disorder can be isolating, exacerbating social anxiety.
  3. Physical and psychological toll: Chronic substance use can lead to a host of health problems and can intensify feelings of anxiety and depression.

Comprehensive Dual-Diagnosis Treatment at Pine Grove

At Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services, our comprehensive approach addresses anxiety and any concurrent substance use disorders. Our expert team recognizes the intricate link between these issues and crafts individualized dual-diagnosis treatment plans to simultaneously tackle both aspects. If you have a crippling fear of social situations, we provide a compassionate, understanding environment where you can heal and learn healthier coping mechanisms.

Socially anxious people may have trouble relating to others, including a reluctance to reach out when they need help. With treatment, you can overcome these challenges and lead a fulfilling, connected life. If you struggle with anxiety and substance abuse, contact us today for compassionate support.