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.