Treatment of social phobia is mostly done alone, and only a small number of people decide to seek the professional help. This is due to the very nature of the condition, for as you know, social phobia means that the person is unable to cope with social interactions and seeking help is that kind of interaction.
But when all forms of self-help fail and you don’t have any other choice then all that left is to man up and contact a professional and seek help, because if you don’t do that, then nothing will change. There are three forms of help you will get from a trained professional. Depending on the type of your social phobia you will receive either one of them, or several of them combined.
– CBT aka Cognitive-behavioral therapy involves the patient and a doctor, and it is the best way to treat this condition. The job of the doctor is to change how the patient feels as it affects the general behavior of the patient. This includes many self-help techniques that are raised on another level with the help of the professional. Doctor teaches the patient how to breathe properly to relax. He also helps the patient to talk about and challenge the negative thoughts that plague them. This type of therapy is continued at home as well, where the patient has to practice the techniques that he was taught.
– Group therapy is another form of CBT, but the difference is the presence of other patients. The patients are encouraged to participate in mock interviews, videotaping, acting and many other exercises that touch on the subjects that cause their anxiety. These practices prepare them for real life situations and over time they relax and after some time, they can be a part of real social situations. They still have some amount of anxiety, but it isn’t followed by negative thoughts and due to that they can make some progress.
– Medications aren’t made to cure the anxiety, but to relieve its effects for only a limited amount of time. Taking medications only will do nothing but to hide the extreme signs of social phobia so people can face the situations they can’t normally. Once the effects of those drugs wear off, the anxiety returns once again. Medications will help if they are used along with self-help or therapies. In that case, they might be the key to the elimination of the social anxiety disorder.
Professionals will prescribe one of the three drugs for dealing with this disorder:
1. Antidepressants will help in the cases of extreme or severe social phobia. You will b given either Zoloft or Effexor (and in some rare cases Paxil) as these three have a positive effect on this condition.
2. Benzodiazepines act fast in suppressing the effect of this illness. They do have sedating effects, and they are quite addictive so they are prescribed to only a handful of people.
3. Beta blockers are used to control physical symptoms only as they have no effect on other signs of social phobia.
Leading a miserable life and being disconnected from everyone is not something you should be proud of. If you don’t want to share your fears and issues with other people then you have to man up and deal with them yourself. You can try forcing the socialization but it is better to take one of the slower paths toward the “normalization” of your social interactions.
You probably haven’t noticed the way you breathe once the anxiety appears. The breathing is quickened and shallow and the balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your body is distorted. That is why you might feel like you are suffocating. By mastering the way of calming your breathing you will be able to reduce or eliminate the anxiety you feel.
Here is a simple guide that will help you breathe freely even in the moments of the anxiety attack.
– First, you should find a comfortable seating position and relax your muscles while your back is straight. One hand goes to the stomach and other on the chest.
– Keep the inhaling slow, through the nose, and it should last for four seconds. Try to breathe from the stomach not from the chest.
– Every time you inhale you should hold the breath for around 2 seconds before you release it.
– Exhale for at least six seconds, through the mouth and in that time try to exhale all the air from your lungs.
– Keep that breathing pattern for at least 2 minutes and your heart rate will slow down to normal levels and your anxiety will reduce greatly.
This simple exercise will help you relax and that is a good first step toward the elimination of social anxiety disorder.
Facing the fear instead of avoiding it might be a better choice in some cases. It is the most helpful way to cure a social phobia, but it is also the hardest of them all. Facing the social situation instead of avoiding it can’t hurt you because if you avoid it the social anxiety disorder will keep on going. We all feel the anxiety, but the point is to release it and not to bottle it up. If you don’t address those feelings at the right moment they will become more difficult to face as the time goes on.
Avoidance of the situations that cause anxiety always leads to new problems. Avoidance does make people feel good, but this is just a short-term solution. Every time a social situation is avoided, the most difficult it becomes in the future. After a while, people with this phobia know only how to avoid those situations and they limit their lives and their chances of succeeding on the social level and sometimes on a professional level as well.
Challenging the anxiety is a solution, but it should be done slowly, step by step. Dealing with anxiety is hard, but if you start with things that cause you small levels of anxiety and work toward bigger issues you will eventually be able to cope with the biggest sources of anxiety in your life. This fight is worth fighting, so don’t give up.
Going to the doctor due to your social phobia isn’t really an option, due to the nature of the condition. And even if you collect enough determination to go and see the doctor aka psychiatrist, you should first try to deal with it by yourself. Only once that fails you should look for professional help. There are few ways through which you can try to deal with this issue without involving other people.
The first thing you should try in a battle against your social phobia is to face the negative thoughts. They are the biggest contributor to the anxiety disorder and if you don’t deal with them you will never be truly free from this phobia. Challenging the negative thoughts that stop you from even trying social interaction must be done carefully. First of all, you have to identify the thoughts that fire up the fear and you have to logically analyze them. If your first thought about a presentation revolves around blowing it up, then think about presentation and realize that everyone makes mistakes and that people won’t judge small mistakes because everyone makes them. The act of challenging every negative thought is a step forward, and next logical step is to involve yourself in a social event even though your negative thoughts are raising red flags.
– Over thinking is the main reason of this disorder and that over thinking leads you to believe that other people are somehow able to do things that are impossible or they will react in a way no one reacts.
– People with social phobia think that they know what other people think, and they always conclude that those people are thinking about them in a negative way.
– They also think that they know what will happen and that it will end badly for them, (you will be embarrassed, people will laugh at you and so on) and this prevents them from going anywhere.
– Individuals with this type of anxiety disorder blow things way out of their proportion. They think if people find out that they are nervous in any way they will react terribly or awfully.
– These people personalize. Whenever someone looks in their direction they automatically think that those people are thinking or talking negatively about them.
If you found yourself in any of these situations then think it over, people are not concerned about you, they don’t care whether you are nervous or not, they have their own problems.
Even though it is hard, you have to build relationships. A relationship requires communication skills which are why you should work on them. Whether you do that in front of a mirror or over the internet it doesn’t matter, you have to train.
You probably have things you enjoy doing, so you should volunteer to do them. Once you start doing that you will relax and you will find people that love the same thing as you and you will be able to talk with them about that. Having that kind of conversation topic will help you to develop your communication skills even further.