Social anxiety disorder linked to increased risk of alcoholism

According to researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, social anxiety disorder might increase the risk of alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Researchers assessed the diagnoses of numerous anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorder, twice in 2,801 Norwegian adult participants. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview was utilized and the data gathered was examined by using logistic regression analyses and multivariate biometric structural equation modeling.

In the findings, social anxiety disorder had the strongest correlation to alcohol use disorder, compared to other anxiety disorders. The disorder also significantly increased the risk of developing alcoholism at a later time.

“Positive associations between AUD and other anxiety disorders were fully explained by shared genetic risk factors,” the study also found.

Interventions that provide prevention or treatment for social anxiety disorder might also help provide beneficiary effects for the inhibition of alcoholism, researchers say.

“Many individuals with social anxiety are not in treatment. This means that we have an underutilized potential, not only for reducing the burden of social anxiety, but also for preventing alcohol problems,” said Dr. Fartein Ask Torvik, the study’s lead author.

The study was published in Depression and Anxiety.