Social Anxiety: Manage your anxiety
Social Anxiety: Take the control back
Do you sometimes find it extremely difficult to attend social gatherings, initiate conversations, eat in front of others, use public restrooms, or go to grocery stores by yourself? If your answer to some or all of the above is yes, then you might be struggling with social anxiety disorder or agoraphobia.
So what is Social anxiety disorder?
We all experience shyness or discomfort in situations that require interacting with other people, such as giving a speech or presentation, which is normal. However, the level of discomfort and anxiety that people with social anxiety experience is extreme fear, intense anxiety and avoidance that hinder daily routines of work, school or other daily activities. The key reaction is avoidance. People with social anxiety take extra measures not to get exposed or trapped in social situations that would make it difficult for them to escape.
Treatment of social anxiety disorder varies and there is plenty of empirical evidence supporting the effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy in treatment of social anxiety disorder. In particular, Exposure Response Prevention Therapy is very effective in reducing the symptoms.
Here are a few treatment options:
In psychotherapy, you learn how to identify and change negative thoughts and develop coping skills to help you gain confidence in managing stress and anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective intervention for anxiety. In Exposure Response Prevention Therapy, your therapist will support to gradually face the situations you fear most and eventually free of your anxiety. This may involve participating in skills training or role-playing in order to develop your social skills and gain comfort and self-confidence.
In most cases, use of medication is not indicated; however, if the symptoms of social anxiety is so sever to the point they hinder you from performing your daily activities and cause you to avoid going to work or school.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often the first line of medication used for persistent symptoms of social anxiety. Examples of SSRIs are:
• Celexa (Citalopram)
• Lexapro (Escitalopram)
• Paxil (Paroxetine)
• Prozac (Fluoxetine)
• Luvox (Fluvoxamine)
• Zoloft (Sertraline)
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) may also be used:
• Effexor (Venlafaxine)
Anti- Anxiety Medications (Benzodiazepines)
• Xanax (Alprazolam)
• Klonopin (Clonazepam)
• Valium (Diazepam)
• Ativan (Lorazepam)
• These medications work by blocking the stimulating effect of epinephrine (adrenaline).
What else can you do:
• Improve your diet and eat nutritious food
• Take daily supplements
• Take 5-HTP and SAMi
• Engage in pleasurable/enjoyable activities
• Get social and stay connected with friends and family
• Buy scented candles