Social anxiety: What you can do about it

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Social anxiety can be treated if you look to seek help. It is really up to you to identify that you have a problem and go out and seek the help you need. Social anxiety is one of those disorders where you have to treat it on multiple levels.

Social anxiety disorder is a disorder that is characterized by a fear of interaction with other people. Generally, people fear being judged or criticized by other people. Often, they will avoid social situations to avoid embarrassment or even panic attacks. Sometimes people with social anxiety get panic attacks because they start to feel fear when they are in a social situation.

The symptoms start to have an effect on people’s work, home life and studies….and things start to deteriorate…

You may have a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder already or you might just think that you have social anxiety. Either way, you must seek help.

Below are the four main things that work for me:

1/ Talk To Your Doctor

By talking to your Doctor he/she will be able to identify whether you have an anxiety disorder. Talking about your symptoms will enable the Doctor to give you a diagnosis and prescribe some medication if you are needing some extra assistance. This should be your first step in your treatment, diagnosing the issue.

2/ Therapy

Speaking to a trained Counsellor or Psychologist is extremely helpful if you are suffering from social anxiety. These people are trained professionals who have several different techniques and ideas which you can implement to aid you in your recovery. One such technique is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which works on changing your thoughts and also your behaviours which may bring some relief to your anxiety symptoms. Another technique they may use is Exposure Therapy. This is when you are gradually exposed to the situation you are fearful of. As you progress you are exposed to the situation more and more until your symptoms start to resolve.

3/ Medication

Your Doctor may prescribe a medication like an anti-depressant which acts like an anti-anxiety medication. The main medications that they usually prescribe are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). I am an on a medication called Zoloft which is an SSRI and it works by blocking the uptake of serotonin making more serotonin available to the brain, which decreases anxiety symptoms. The SNRIs work by keeping serotonin and norepinephrine up, and keeping these two chemicals from going back to the cells that released them.

4/ Supplements

There are various supplements on the market which can help with anxiety. Some examples include:

  • Ashwagandha – called Indian ginseng, it is an adaptogenic herb and used in Ayurvedic medicine. It helps with stress and anxiety.
  • Bacopa – is a herb that helps to eliminate anxiety and helps particularly people with social anxiety disorder.
  • Chamomile – it is a flower that works to relax the muscles and reduce irritability. It is often drunk as a tea and is calming and soothing which reduces stress and anxiety symptoms.
  • Kava Kava – it is a plant with a scientific name of Piper methysticum. It works by decreasing anxiety, nervousness, stress and restlessness.
  • Lavender – lavender oil is an essential oil that is used to aid anxiety and depression. It has a calming effect on the body which reduces anxiety symptoms.

Personally, I take an SSRI and use Ashwagandha to help my anxiety. I try to see my Psychologist and Doctor regularly to make sure that I am working with people who can assist me in addressing my symptoms. It’s one of those things the longer you leave it to get help, the worse it can become. So, you need to address it as soon as possible.

Social anxiety disorder can be debilitating. However, there are so many different strategies that can help you.

Here are some resources you might like to use to help you:

Information about Social Anxiety Disorder

Information about Social Anxiety Disorder

A test to screen yourself for Social Anxiety Disorder

Finding Therapy if you have Social Anxiety Disorder

If you are in crisis and need to speak to someone (United States): Call 1-800-273-TALK OR Text MHA to 741741



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