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social anxiety disorder and drug useIs it possible because of the high demands that...

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itsnotlate | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted August 13, 2012 at 8:57 PM via web

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social anxiety disorder and drug use

Is it possible because of the high demands that society places on fitting in, children and teens develop social anxiety disorder, which left untreated, emerges later in life as a drug habit? 

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mwalter822 | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted August 13, 2012 at 10:12 PM (Answer #2)

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I would doubt that there is a very direct correlation between social anxiety disorder and drug use, but I'm sure it can happen in certain cases. People with social anxiety disorder are not necessarily the kind of people who would be likely to fall victim to drug abuse. In fact, drug use and abuse often happens in group settings, something people with social anxiety disorder often try to avoid.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted August 13, 2012 at 11:13 PM (Answer #3)

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I am not sure what the research is on this, but I would hazard a guess that much drug and alcohol abuse occurs among people with a variety of mental illnesses and disorders as an attempt to self-medicate.  It's quite sad to me that this occurs because it compounds the original problem, adding a new disorder that must be treated. Even sadder is why it occurs, mostly, I think, because there is so much ignorance and stigma around mental illness, and also because many people do not have health insurance to seek treatment for whatever problem they are trying to solve with drugs and alcohol.  I can certainly see someone with social anxiety disorder using drugs to try to feel better in social situations. 

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted August 14, 2012 at 6:14 PM (Answer #4)

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I don't know of any research that can show such a direct link between teen pressure and social anxiety disorder.  Yes, a person prone to such a mental illness might experience the disorder earlier or more aggressively due to social pressure, but that does not prove a causal link.  Clearly the environment plays a role in mental illnesses like social anxiety disorder, but it is not the only reason a person develops such a condition.  The article linked below discusses how children with social anxiety disorder tendencies like shy or withdraw behavior can be more problematic in certain cultures.  Again, this does not mean that the culture itself caused the problem, but rather than the culture is less accepting of the problem that already existed. 

I do agree that many with mental illnesses are prone to some type of drug habit.  As post 3 stated, this is a type of self-medicating behavior.  For someone with social anxiety, this might mean having a drink before entering a social setting.  While it might be more common to experience a drug habit among those with mental illnesses, that does not mean that every person with a mental illness will develop a drug habit.  Again, there isn't a causal link as  implied by the question.  Social anxiety disorder does not always "emerge later in life as a drug habit." 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_anxiety_disorder#Social_experiences

 

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itsnotlate | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted August 20, 2012 at 2:20 PM (Answer #5)

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I disagree. Would it change your perspective if we took teens and pressure out of the issue? If you look at it like this, people with social anxiety disorder don't always refrain from the social life just due to their illness. They need to be social and fight the disease makes them seek alternative ways to feel better and therefore self-medicate. Does this change your feelings at all?

 

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itsnotlate | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted August 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM (Answer #6)

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I disagree. Would it change your perspective if we took teens and pressure out of the issue? If you look at it like this, people with social anxiety disorder don't always refrain from the social life just due to their illness. They need to be social and fight the disease makes them seek alternative ways to feel better and therefore self-medicate. Does this change your feelings at all?

 

sorry if it was unclear but my post #5 was in response to post #2. 

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itsnotlate | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted August 20, 2012 at 2:30 PM (Answer #7)

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I personally suffer from social anxiety disorder and somehow miraculously overcame it one day. I was agoraphobic at one point and I suppose being forced into social situations, much like the treatment of arachnaphobia by introducing spiders into the environment, eventually cured me. I self-medicated as a way to make my true personality be able to come out. I didn't want to be shy and withdrawn. Of course, in the end, it did more harm than good and I ended up with an addiction. I struggled with that which I eventually got control of last year and have been sober for almost a year and a half now. My mission is to gather as much information as possible and like post 3 said, help make people more aware that the problem exists.  So many go untreated for the social anxiety disorder and end up with a drug problem. Then, people with a drug problem can't pinpoint the cause which has a tendency to lead back to social anxiety disorder. I've seen it present in 15 out of 20 cases of close friends that suffer as I did. Any ideas or further information is much appreciated. Thank you for following my discussion.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 30, 2012 at 11:31 PM (Answer #8)

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I think it is extreme to suggest that asking too much of teens will cause anxiety disorders that lead to drug habits, but in some kids this could be the case.  This would especially be true of kids who have addiction running in their families and unstable home lives.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 9, 2013 at 11:25 PM (Answer #9)

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The short answer has to be yes. Drug addiction is a possible result of social anxiety disorder which is potentially related to demands of conformity felt by teens. Teens in all eras and ages, however, have faced similar social pressures to what teens face today, sometimes more contraining, specific and intense than those teens now face. People of these eras have turned out fine, most of them, while some of them have had problems with addiction. 

It seems that many issues might lead to addiction and social pressure on teens in one of them, but these issues do not always lead to addiction. 

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