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Comorbidity Of Social Anxiety And Alcohol Use Disorder

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Comorbidity of Social Anxiety and Alcohol Use Disorder: Developments in Patient Care
Alexandra L. Strange
Baker University School of Nursing
October 27, 2014

Social anxiety and alcohol use disorder often occur concurrently. Statistics show that individuals with social anxiety have a two-fold increased risk of being diagnosed with alcohol use disorder than those without anxiety. It is important to be able to identify when there is an occurrence of both disorders due to the fact that comorbidity is associated with more severe manifestations of both conditions which can lead to increased psychological impairment. It is also associated with less successful treatment outcomes due to difficulty in selecting effective
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Social anxiety often precedes alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorders can have further negative effects on anxiety disorders, as evidenced by research showing that anxiety symptoms are increased with the abuse of alcohol. Furthermore, the effectiveness of standard treatment options for each disorder is diminished when comorbidity occurs (Book, Thomas, P. Randall, & C. Randall, 2009; Black et al., 2012; Boschloo et al., 2011; Miller et al., 2013; Stapinski et al, 2014).
Assessment techniques for determining whether socially anxious patients are at-risk for alcohol dependence are enhanced through knowledge of risk factors. These include male gender, being single, family history of anxiety, depressive disorders, or alcohol dependence, neuroticism, isolation, and childhood trauma (Boschloo et al., 2011; Miller et al., 2013).
Other assessment techniques include regular screenings of patients diagnosed with social anxiety disorder to detect indications of alcohol dependence. For example, the use of drinking motive questions is clinically supported as a beneficial tool. According to the Drinking Motives Questionnaire, there are four established drinking motives: social, enhancement, coping, and conformity. Of these motives for drinking, coping is considered to be the most significant risk factor for alcohol dependence (Miller et al., 2013).
Research studies have found that there are
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