"Social anxiety disorder - an excessive fear of social situations, such as eating or speaking in public - affects 2 to 13 percent of the U.S. population. About one-fifth of patients with social anxiety disorder also suffer from an alcohol use disorder (AUD) (i.e., alcohol abuse or dependence). Many people experience social anxiety that is, they feel uncomfortable or even anxious in social situations, such as talking with strangers (or even friends) or speaking in front of a group of people. In the general population, levels of social anxiety exist on a continuum from mild to severe. A clinical diagnosis of social anxiety disorder, also referred to as social phobia, is assigned only when the social anxiety results in significant fear when faced with the situation, impairment of performance, or avoidance of anxiety-provoking situations. People with high levels of social anxiety typically report that alcohol helps them feel more comfortable in social situations. Thus, it is not surprising that individuals with clinically diagnosed social anxiety disorder have a higher incidence of alcohol-related problems than does the general population. This article explores the diagnosis and prevalence of social anxiety disorder and reviews studies evaluating the relationship between alcohol consumption and social anxiety. In addition, the article summarizes treatment approaches for social anxiety disorder alone as well as in combination with alcohol-related problems."