Hollyoaks Steph Davis couldnt leave home without a drink amid severe social anxiety
Stephanie Davis has opened up about how her autism triggered “severe social anxiety” and left unable to “leave the house without a drink”.
The former Hollyoaks actress was diagnosed with high-functioning autism (HFA) in 2019 after being admitted to rehab.
Stephanie’s parents took her to a facility for treatment as she was “drinking herself to death” and self-medicating with alcohol as anxiety and the fallout from her tumultuous relationship with fellow Celebrity Big Brother star Jeremy McConnell took her to a dark place.
“Before I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism, drinking was the only thing I knew,” Stephanie, who is now sober, exclusively tells OK!.
“I needed to drink a bottle of wine before a night out because of my severe anxiety in social settings. I also needed to know the layouts of places. So when I’d walk into somewhere new I'd go, ‘Right, the toilets are there, the bar is there.’”
Stephanie turned her life around for sake of her son Caben Albi, five, whose dad is Irish model and reality star Jeremy.
He was convicted of attacking Steph in their Merseyside home while she was holding their son, who was then eight weeks old.
The 29 year old went to bravely share how her reliance on how alcohol ending up “destroying” her and left her suicidal.
She continued: “In the end, my anxiety got so bad I couldn’t leave the house without a drink. If something went wrong, I’d drink.
“I saw that as my medicine, it was my best friend, but in the end it destroyed me to the point I wanted to take my own life.”
But getting help in rehab and finally receiving a diagnosis for autism at 26 was a turning point for the star, and she says she felt “the biggest relief”.
“I got dragged to rehab by my parents and they said: "Please help her because she’s going to die,’” says Stephanie, who played Sinead O’Connor in the Channel 4 soap.
“My mental health was so bad, it wasn’t just addiction. That’s when a consultant psychiatrist recognised my traits and told me I had high-functioning autism, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
“When I got the diagnosis, I didn’t really understand what it meant, but as soon as I did my research I was like, ‘Whoa, that is me.’ Everything jumped out and it made me feel more at ease because I felt, ‘It’s not just me.’
“It made me accept myself for the first time and start to look forward. It was the biggest relief.”
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