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Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment

writtenByWritten by: Leah McCabe
Leah McCabe

Leah McCabe

Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

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reviewBy Reviewed by: Ken Cosby M.D.
Reviewer

Ken Cosby M.D.

Dr. Ken Cosby received his medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine (Washington, DC) and completed his research post-doc work at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health including the National Heart Lung Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute.

May 20, 2021 Read Time - 5 minutes

Get Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Do you start to shake and sweat when you have to talk to somebody new? Do you avoid socializing because the idea makes you very nervous? Do you feel self-conscious when you eat, believing that people are watching you eat? If symptoms like these are affecting your daily life, you may have a social anxiety disorder.

Luckily, social anxiety disorders can be treated very effectively.

Read on to learn about social anxiety disorder and its treatment options, including CBT for social anxiety.

  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

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What Are Social Anxiety Disorders?

Social anxiety disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that causes extreme fear in social settings. Social anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that causes an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others.

“This can affect work, school, and your other day-to-day activities,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health. “It can even make it hard to make and keep friends.”

For a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder, symptoms must be present for at least 6 months and cause disruptions in a person’s daily life.

What Causes Social Anxiety Disorder?

Social anxiety may be caused by genetic factors, environmental reasons, or both.

Common situations that may trigger social anxiety include:

  • Using a public restroom
  • Dating
  • Meeting new people
  • Talking on the phone
  • Interacting with coworkers or classmates
  • Going to parties or other social events

Symptoms of Social Anxiety

Symptoms of social anxiety occur in various social settings or before social gatherings.

They can be mental or physical and may include:

  • Sweating, blushing, rapid heartbeat, or your mind going blank
  • Feeling self-conscious, awkward, or embarrassed
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Being afraid of other people judging you
  • Avoiding places where you know other people will be
  • Avoiding eye contact or speaking in a very low voice
  • Muscle tension
  • Trouble catching your breath
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Expecting the worst-case scenario
  • Spending time after social situations analyzing your behavior

Can Social Anxiety Disorder Be Treated?

Yes, social anxiety disorders are highly treatable with social anxiety treatment, which typically involves a combination of therapy, medication, or both. Generally, a type of therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) provides the best tools to overcome the symptoms of social anxiety. 

For some people with social anxiety disorder, medications, such as antidepressants, can lessen the symptoms enough for therapy to work better. These will need to be prescribed by a doctor.

Don’t wait for your anxiety to get worse. The sooner you begin social anxiety treatment, the easier your road to recovery will be. 

Social Anxiety Treatment Options

There is no single best social anxiety treatment that will work for everybody. However, most people respond best to CBT and antidepressants prescribed by an anxiety doctor.

Social Anxiety Medication

In combination with therapy, social anxiety disorder medication has been shown to be an effective component in social anxiety disorder treatment plans. Some medications commonly prescribed in social anxiety disorder treatment include:

  • Zoloft
  • Paxil
  • Effexor XR
  • Take your free mental health assessment.

    Your results will help determine which type of support you may benefit from the most.

  • Meet with a top doctor, get an official diagnosis and prescription treatment plan.

  • Sit back and have your prescription delivered to your door.

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Social Anxiety Therapy

For many people with social anxiety disorders, the most important element of social anxiety disorder treatment is CBT.

In general, anxiety disorders recommend attending between 12 and 16 therapy sessions. CBT can help individuals with social anxiety build confidence, learn healthy coping skills to manage anxiety-inducing situations, and live a more fulfilling life.

Can Social Anxiety Disorders Be Cured?

Yes, mild social anxiety can be cured with early intervention. With that said, lifelong sufferers of social anxiety disorders are more likely to have some symptoms throughout their lives.

Social anxiety can be treated with therapy, medication, or both, and the symptoms can be reduced enough to stop interfering in daily life.

CBT for Social Anxiety Disorders: Will Therapy Help Anxiety?

Yes, therapy and counseling can be very effective in treating social anxiety disorder. CBT, in particular, can help change thoughts and behaviors to reduce the symptoms enough to stop interfering with a person’s life.

How to Treat Social Anxiety

Here are a few quick tips to help you deal with social anxiety:

  • Practice deep breathing exercises, especially during or before situations that trigger your anxiety.
  • Prepare for situations ahead of time, for example, by looking up conversation starters before going to an event where you will be meeting new people.
  • Exercise as much as your schedule will allow. Aerobic exercises like jogging can help burn off nervous energy, while milder exercises like yoga can help you focus on relaxing and controlling your breathing.
  • Start with smaller activities such as going out to eat with your friends or saying hello to a stranger before building up to bigger activities.
  • Focus on challenging negative thoughts and spinning them into ways that a situation could go well.
  • Pay attention to your senses. Notice the smell of the air, the feel of the ground beneath your feet, or an interesting detail in your surroundings to help distract you from the fear you’re feeling.
  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

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How to Get Social Anxiety Treatment Online

If you want to try therapy for your social anxiety disorder, PlushCare may be able to help. Many of our therapists practice CBT and will work with you to determine the best social anxiety disorder treatment plan for your specific symptoms. To schedule an online therapy appointment, click here.

If you think you want to try medication for your social anxiety disorder, PlushCare can help with that, too. You can book an online appointment with one of our trusted doctors, and if they think you would benefit from an antidepressant to help treat your social anxiety, they can send an electronic prescription to your preferred pharmacy.To make an appointment with one of our licensed doctors, click here or download our PlushCare app.

Please Note: PlushCare does not have online psychiatrists at this time. That said, our primary care physicians are able to prescribe mental health medications such as antidepressants, and if necessary can provide you with a referral to a psychiatrist.


Read More About Social Anxiety 


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

National Institute of Mental Health. Social Anxiety Disorder: More Than Just Shyness. Accessed on December 9, 2020 at https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/social-anxiety-disorder-more-than-just-shyness/index.shtml

Mayo Clinic. Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia). Accessed on December 9, 2020 at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/social-anxiety-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353561

Penn Psychiatry. Social Anxiety Disorder. Accessed on December 9, 2020 at https://www.med.upenn.edu/ctsa/social_anxiety_symptoms.html

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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