Social anxiety disorder is associated with high rates of alcohol problems. People with social anxiety (SA) are nearly three times as likely to develop problems with alcohol and among people seeking treatment for alcohol problems 23-39% meet the diagnostic criteria for social anxiety disorder. A study of 5,877 people by researchers at the University of Michigan found that SA was related to alcohol dependence even after allowing for a number of other factors. People with social anxiety who were also alcoholics had a higher usage of health care, other mental-health problems and greater interpersonal stress than other people with SA. For the majority of people their social anxiety came before their alcohol problems, suggesting that SA increases people's vulnerability to alcohol problems.
Buckner, Julia D. ... [et al] - Implications of comorbid alcohol dependence among individuals with social anxiety disorder Depression and Anxiety December 2008, 25(12), 1028-1037