Alcohol and anxiety: Subtle and obvious attributes of abuse in adults with social anxiety disorder and panic disorder

11 Scopus citations


Previous research has found a relation between social anxiety disorder and alcoholism but recent work found no differences in drinking levels among socially anxious individuals, dysthymics, and normal controls. Using a more sophisticated measure of substance abuse may further explicate the relation between social anxiety and drinking. We examined aspects of substance abuse in treatment-seeking individuals with social anxiety disorder or panic disorder (psychiatric control group) as well as nondisordered individuals (normal control group). We used the Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory-3 because it includes both face valid and subtle items to control for social desirability. Contrary to the hypotheses, there were few obvious or subtle aspects of substance abuse significantly greater for individuals with social anxiety disorder than those with panic disorder or normal controls. Implications for understanding the social anxiety-alcohol relationship, assessment of substance abuse in socially anxious populations, and the construct of social anxiety-are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-139
Number of pages12
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 8 2003



  • Alcohol
  • Anxiety
  • Social phobia
  • Substance abuse
  • Substance abuse screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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