Social anxiety, or social phobia, afflicts many people. About 19.2 million Americans are suffering from social anxiety. Of the various kinds of mental illnesses, social anxiety is the third most common in the United States. Different treatment modalities are being used to beat social anxiety.
But first, you must find out what social anxiety really is. Social anxiety is the feeling of excessive fear towards social situations. This social anxiety stems from the fear of being judged, criticized, or closely watched by others. Because of this unreasonable fear, the person with social anxiety will feel severely distressed during social events or may even avoid these. What is worse is that a person with social anxiety already has anticipatory anxiety just thinking about the coming event. People with social anxiety do know that what they are feeling is unreasonable but they have no control over it.
Social anxiety is usually incited by various social events. Examples of these are talking in public, eating or drinking in front of other people, interacting with people, using public toilets, talking on the phone, and others. Fear of these social events usually come from distorted thinking, negative opinion of other people, and false beliefs. How can a person with social anxiety be diagnosed?
If symptoms of social anxiety are observed, the doctor will initially conduct an evaluation of a person’s medical history and a physical exam. The doctor will have to rule out the existence of a physical disorder by conducting various laboratory tests.
If no physical illness is found through the laboratory test results, the patient will be referred to a psychologist or psychiatrist. The mental health professional, a psychiatrist or psychologist, can diagnose social anxiety with the help of assessment tools like interviews. Upon diagnosis of social anxiety, the correct treatment strategy for the patient will be prescribed.
Years ago, cognitive-behavior therapy is the best method to beat social anxiety. Cognitive-behavior therapy is about changing a person’s fear into a more rational way of thinking. In this treatment, a person with social anxiety learns how to react differently in social situations and how to stop avoiding them. There are two ways that cognitive-behavior therapy is done: systematic desensitization and real life exposure to situations.
With systematic desensitization, a person imagines the situation that causes anxiety. And then, the person is helped by the therapist to overcome his or her fears. Real life exposure to situations that cause anxiety is also another way. With the therapist’s guidance, the person is able to overcome his or her anxiety during exposure to the social situations.
Doctors also prescribe medicines in order to beat social anxiety. Doctors prescribe medicines like beta-blockers, antidepressants, and tranquilizers. These drugs may be used with cognitive-behavior therapy in order to minimize the symptoms of social anxiety.
Cognitive-behavior therapy and prescription medications have been tried by many social anxiety sufferers. Unfortunately these treatment methods did not beat social anxiety because only Panic Away is effective in doing so.