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The Link Between Social Anxiety and Overdrinking

If you suffer from social anxiety, you may find yourself drinking alcohol in social situations in order to feel more at ease. This is a common coping mechanism, but unfortunately, it can be a dangerous one. As a Licensed Clinical Counselor, I see clients using alcohol to ease uncomfortable feelings daily. Here, we will explore three reasons why you might be overdrinking alcohol in social situations if you suffer from social anxiety. We will also provide some tips on how to cope with social anxiety without relying on drinking alcohol.

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How to know if you have social anxiety


If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed in social situations, and prefer to drink alone or with only a few trusted friends, you may be experiencing a form of social anxiety. It's important to understand the signs and symptoms of social anxiety so that you can take the necessary steps to address it.


Social anxiety is characterized by extreme fear or worry about being judged by others in social situations. Often this feeling is associated with physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, or difficulty speaking. You may also find yourself avoiding social activities or events that involve people you don't know, even if those activities are important or meaningful to you.


It's common in Western society to use alcohol as a way to cope with these feelings. If you find yourself drinking heavily in social situations to cope with your anxiety, this could be an indication that you're struggling with social anxiety. Here are three common reasons you may find yourself over drinking in social situations when you have social anxiety.


1. To Feel Like You Fit In


When you’re surrounded by others, it can be difficult to feel comfortable and accepted without the presence of alcohol. It can become even more challenging for those with social anxiety who don’t know how to navigate social situations effectively.


For some, alcohol can seem like an easy way to fit in and feel comfortable among their peers. Unfortunately, this type of behavior can lead to unhealthy habits and cause further damage to those who already struggle with social anxiety.


2. To Feel Accepted


For people with social anxiety, the need to be accepted can be a powerful motivator to overdrink in social situations. Social anxiety often causes feelings of fear, insecurity, and inadequacy around others. These feelings can be especially acute in social situations and cause an individual to feel uncomfortable and out of place. This discomfort can lead them to seek relief through the use of alcohol.


In addition to providing a temporary feeling of relief from the discomfort of social anxiety, overdrinking alcohol can also help individuals to temporarily fit in with others. This can be particularly true when there is a strong drinking culture, such as at a party or bar. If a person feels that they cannot socialize without drinking, they may prefer to drink alone rather than face the possibility of being judged by their peers.


3. To Forget About Anxiety


Alcohol can seem like a helpful solution because it can help reduce feelings of shyness and anxiousness, while also giving you more confidence in the moment. However, overdrinking can make you feel worse afterwards, leading to feelings of guilt or regret. You may also find yourself preferring to drink alone or avoiding social situations entirely in order to avoid any potential triggers of social anxiety.


How alcohol affects your ability to cope with social anxiety


Alcohol is often used to cope with social anxiety and is often referred to as “liquid courage”. When people are anxious in social situations, they may turn to alcohol as a form of self-medication to reduce the discomfort and fear. In some cases, alcohol may reduce inhibitions and make it easier for them to interact with others.


However, over time, this kind of drinking can lead to further problems. As people prefer to drink alone, the fear of being judged or rejected by others in social situations can be amplified. This can lead to increased levels of anxiety and depression which may ultimately result in more heavy drinking. Additionally, alcohol use can impact how individuals perceive and interpret social cues which can make it even harder to navigate social interactions.


For those struggling with social anxiety, reducing alcohol use or quitting altogether is the best way to manage symptoms. Talk therapy, neurofeedback, and other treatments such as CBT can help you cope with social anxiety more effectively without relying on alcohol. It may also be beneficial to find healthier ways to deal with uncomfortable feelings and engage in activities that provide joy and purpose.

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People who suffer from social anxiety may find themselves in a situation where they are overwhelmed and turn to alcohol to cope. This can lead to a dangerous cycle of drinking to cope with social anxiety, and can ultimately cause more harm than good. Individual Counseling and Couples Counseling is a great way to help manage social anxiety and the urge to overdrink.


Counseling for social anxiety can help you identify and understand the situations that lead you to feel anxious and how to cope without using alcohol as a crutch. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been proven to be an effective way to treat social anxiety by providing coping strategies and identifying the underlying causes. A therapist can also help you work through any underlying issues that may be causing your social anxiety, such as trauma or past experiences.


For those who prefer to drink alone, counseling can help identify the reasons why they are turning to alcohol and provide support on how to reduce their consumption. A therapist can also provide strategies to help manage cravings and learn healthier ways of dealing with emotions, such as mindfulness techniques or relaxation exercises.


No matter what type of social anxiety you have, counseling can be a powerful tool in helping you cope and make positive changes in your life. It’s important to find a qualified therapist who you trust and feel comfortable speaking with.



Neurofeedback is a non-invasive treatment option for people who suffer from social anxiety and alcohol abuse. Neurofeedback, or EEG biofeedback, is a form of therapy that helps people become aware of the electrical activity in their brain and learn to control it.


It is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional talk therapy for those with mental health issues.


Neurofeedback has been used successfully in treating social anxiety and alcohol abuse. It helps individuals become aware of the underlying causes of their anxiety and how it manifests itself in their body, thoughts, and behaviors. This awareness can then be used to create healthier patterns of behavior.


For those with social anxiety, neurofeedback can help reduce the need to drink alcohol in order to cope with social situations. Neurofeedback can help individuals become aware of the physical and emotional sensations they experience in certain situations and learn how to respond in healthier ways. Through the use of audio and visual feedback, individuals can learn to better regulate their emotions and physical reactions.


For those who prefer to drink alone, neurofeedback can help them identify triggers that lead to drinking and offer more productive ways to cope with stress and anxiety. Neurofeedback can also be beneficial for those who struggle with cravings for alcohol and have difficulty abstaining from drinking in social settings.


Neurofeedback is a powerful tool for those struggling with social anxiety and alcohol abuse. It can help individuals learn healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult situations and ultimately make lasting lifestyle changes.


Learn More About Counseling and Neurofeedback for Social Anxiety and Overdrinking


It is important to discuss your options with licensed professionals when contemplating the best form of treatment for social anxiety and alcohol use. The team at Connected Brain Counseling offers free consultations to help you decide the best course of action for your current stressors.



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