Pegging one too many deflates confidence, causes unease

July 21st, 2009 - 1:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, July 21 (IANS) Excessive drinking actually deflates confidence and also causes greater unease and agitation, according to a new study.
For many, drinking is an essential part of a night out with friends. Alcohol is widely considered to be a social lubricant, so it’s not surprising that social phobia, or extreme shyness, and drinking, frequently go together.

More concerning are reports of increased alcohol problems among socially anxious people. Research studies tell us that people who suffer from social phobia are two to three times more likely to develop problems with alcohol abuse and/or alcohol dependence.

Now researchers from Macquarie University’s Centre for Emotional Health have developed a new treatment for adults that addresses both problems together.

Lexine Stapinski from the University’s Centre for Emotional Health, who is coordinating the new programme, said many people mistakenly believe that alcohol relaxes them when in fact, excessive drinking actually increases agitation and anxiety.

“Shy people believe alcohol helps them to steady their nerves and feel more confident, but this can lead to a reliance on alcohol and ultimately a range of additional physical, social and emotional problems,” she said.

The new programme developed by Macquarie offers participants 10 individual cognitive behavioural therapy sessions at no cost. Medication is also offered as an option, said a Macquarie release.

Treatment sessions are conducted with experienced clinical psychologists and are based on the most up-to-date research findings and knowledge of social anxiety and alcohol dependence.

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