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3 Effective Recovery Tips for People with Social Anxiety

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April 9, 2021

Social anxiety is more than shyness—it’s a mental health condition that can seriously affect a person’s ability to interact with others. This can make addiction recovery challenging. Many recovery programs emphasize social interaction and fellowship as a means to long-term sobriety. But it’s not impossible! There are many things you can do to help make recovery with social anxiety easier (and even enjoyable!). If you’re struggling, consider following some of the suggestions below.

1. Individual Therapy

If the idea of attending group therapy or 12-step meetings fills you with fear, try easing into addiction recovery with one-on-one therapy. For some people, being in a private setting with just one other person makes it easier speak openly and honestly. This can be especially true for those in early sobriety. A trained counselor can also use cognitive behavioral therapy to teach you coping skills for social phobia and social anxiety. This in turn may help you feel more at ease in group settings. In some cases, a doctor may also prescribe non-addictive anti-anxiety medication to help manage severe symptoms.woman in recovery with social anxiety looking out window

2. Online Support Meetings

As someone who’s struggled with social anxiety and panic disorder for years, online support group meetings have been a game-changer for me. They allow me to experience the benefits of the fellowship from the comfort and safety of my own home, which has helped me become more open and engaged in the groups I regularly attend. It’s also just so easy—you can find an online 12-step meeting at pretty much any time, day or night, in any part of the world. In addition to AA, Smart Recovery and American Addiction Centers offer virtual support meetings.

3. Regular Exercise

Research shows that regular physical activity helps ease common anxiety disorder symptoms. Cardiovascular activities such as jogging, biking, and running boost the production of calming, anti-anxiety neurochemicals in the brain, including serotonin and gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). Exercise has also been found to reduce overactivity in the amygdala, which can cause common anxiety and panic symptoms such as racing heartbeat, sweaty palms, and dizziness or lightheadedness.

Surviving Recovery with Social Anxiety

Social anxiety in recovery is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s estimated that 20 percent of Americans with substance use disorders also have co-occurring anxiety disorders. Turning to alcohol or drugs for relief, however, is not sustainable and will only worsen your condition in the long run. If you’re having trouble managing recovery with social anxiety, reach out for help today.

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