It’s simply human nature to be concerned about how others perceive you. This leads to a need for acceptance and approval – especially in those who find it difficult to be social or engage with others. For some individuals, there is unfortunately the belief that alcohol can help overcome the challenges of shyness and social anxiety. This assumption leads many people to alcohol who use it as a coping mechanism and as a way to connect with others.
The Link Between Shyness and Drinking
There is a clear connection between shyness and drinking. Why? The lowered inhibitions that come with drinking can greatly reduce shyness and increase confidence. Of course, this isn’t a healthy solution to a timid personality. Rather, drinking eventually leads to reckless or belligerent behavior and ultimately addiction.
Many shy individuals discover that a couple of drinks greatly reduces the uncomfortableness of timidity. In fact, alcohol is so effective in “treating” shyness, that many become dependent on it from the first drink. Unfortunately, alcohol is not a sustainable solution for an introverted personality. It only creates more problems. The only solution is overcoming this bashful characteristic to improve the ability to interact with people without alcohol.
Self-Medicating with Alcohol
Of course, shyness isn’t the only personality trait that is connected with alcoholism. Many people who suffer from depression, stress, anger issues, PTSD, anxiety and other conditions use alcohol as a way to improve their personalities. In fact, the majority of individuals who are addicted to alcohol are using it to self-medicate to numb the feelings of a co-occurring disorder. It makes sense that those suffering the painful symptoms of these conditions would turn to alcohol as a readily-available solution for medicating their underlying problem.
Stopping the Pattern of Alcohol Addiction
Regardless of the social disorder, alcohol is not the solution. In an individualized treatment program, you will obtain the help you need to overcome your addiction along with solutions for dealing with its underlying causes. In the case of shyness, the only way to overcome it is to interact with others on a consistent basis.
It’s easy to fall back into a pattern of isolation, and this can be very risky for those in recovery. Shy individuals who do not have a strong support system around them are far more likely to relapse. Regular 12-step meetings and group therapy are particularly beneficial in helping to sustain recovery and develop new social skills that can minimize the chance of relapse.
Individualized Treatment Plans
There are many programs to treat alcohol addiction. However, if you are using alcohol as a way to enhance your personality or overcome shyness, your treatment needs include new strategies for engaging with others in healthier ways.
At Summit Behavioral Health, we don’t offer a one-size-fits-all treatment program. Rather, we carefully assess your specific situation and needs to create a treatment plan that is truly designed to support your long-term recovery. Call now to speak to an addiction specialist. Help is only a call away.
Like what you’ve read? Read more in: How Your Personality Type Affects Recovery