It’s no secret that alcohol abuse is alive and well in high schools and college campuses across America. New research studies seek to investigate the root causes of teen alcohol abuse: the relationship between heavy drinking and social anxiety.
According to a recent report by the National Institute of Health (NIH), anxiety is a psychological risk factor associated with heavy or problem drinking among teenagers.
Along with anxiety and other psychological factors, the NIH report suggests that an impulsive personality and a family history of alcohol abuse may be additional risk factors for problem drinking.
People with social anxiety, both teenagers and adults alike, can benefit from these findings by taking action to eliminate risk factors for alcohol abuse and address their anxiety. Social anxiety is the most common type of anxiety disorder, affecting 15% of all Americans. Social anxiety, also known as social phobia, is diagnosed as overwhelming anxiety, fear, and self-consciousness in everyday social situations.
It triggers a host of physical symptoms, anxious thoughts, and avoidance behaviors. Often involved is a strong feeling of anxiety that others are looking at or judging them. The stress from this anxiety is often Non Woven Mask most pronounced during teen years and is often negated by alcohol abuse.
What You Can Do As A Parent?
Ask your teen why he or she drinks. Is it to help alleviate social fears and anxieties? To fit in, and not be judged? If so, explain to them the reality of the situation. They may be using alcohol in a vain attempt to cope with the root cause: social anxiety.
Drinking large amounts of alcohol may mask the problem for a few brief hours. However, once the mask comes off, the anxiety returns as strong as ever. Teen alcohol abuse does not cure social anxiety.
In fact, instead of curing one problem, teen alcohol abuse creates another. Instead of one problem to overcome, there are now two problems, social anxiety AND alcohol abuse.
Here are several ways you can empower your teenager to address the root causes of social anxiety, instead of masking the problem with heavy drinking.
- Change their expectations about what alcohol can do for their stress level. National Institute of Health research indicates that when a teen EXPECTS that alcohol will relieve stress and lead to higher levels of social acceptance, it leads to increased drinking. Sakura Mask Materials Suppliers
Problem drinkers tend to believe these two thoughts. In fact, there is much debate as to whether this assumption is actually true.
While some studies suggest that low levels of alcohol temporarily reduce the stress response (also known as the fight or flight response), other studies now indicate that alcohol actually INDUCES the stress response by stimulating the release of stress hormones such as corticosterone and adrenaline.
- Encourage them to build a social support system. Many teens rely on drinking for social support. Instead of using drinking to connect with others, seek social support outside of the drinking environment. This is easier said than done, since it is a catch-22: the social anxiety is what hinders these types of connections in the first place.
Remember, the longest journey is accomplished one step at a time. Start with safe people like a trusted family member, a best friend, counselor, or pastor, and build from there.
Some colleges offer group therapy for people with social anxiety, which gives your teen an opportunity to learn how to overcome her fears in a safe environment with people who understand what she is going through.
- Encourage your teen to increase his sense of control over social anxiety by learning anxiety reduction techniques. Nutritional strategies for reducing anxiety, deep breathing, guided imagery, and cognitive-behavioral strategies are just a few examples of anxiety reduction techniques that can bring about positive results.
Anxiety reduction techniques can be highly effective tools in helping conquer anxiety. For example, NIH findings indicate that cognitive-behavioral therapy can be as effective as medication in treating anxiety, and even more effective than medication at preventing long-term recurrence of anxiety.
Teen alcohol abuse will likely never be totally eradicated as long as there are both teens and alcohol. By far, the largest factor in preventing teen alcohol abuse is active, positive involvement by the parents in the lives of the teenager.