Treatment for social anxiety disorder is challenging and not always successful. The approach to the treatment for social anxiety disorder (SAD) depends on the severity of your sensitivity to the social circumstances and the signs of social anxiety that affect your daily effectiveness. The duration of treatment for social anxiety also varies. Some people may respond well to initial treatment and need nothing more, while others may need some form of support throughout their life.
Today let’s discuss one of the most underrated or neglected topics, Social Anxiety.
We hear almost every day from people between the 16 to 30 age group that they are facing severe social anxiety disorder attacks while interacting with co-workers, neighbors, and even friends.
Because social anxiety disorder can be a serious, tenacious syndrome, an attending psychiatrist can recommend medicines to help you cope with it.
There are several types of social anxiety medication available, and your doctor can help you determine which might be right for you.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRIs are often the first-line treatment for social anxiety and depression.
These drugs, which include paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft), work by increasing the level of serotonin in your brain.
Serotonin is a vital neurotransmitter, a particle that helps direct messages throughout your body. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression and anxiety.
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
If an SSRI does not improve social anxiety, your doctor may prescribe another type of antidepressant to relieve your symptoms.
It can be an SNRI such as:
- duloxetine (Cymbalta)
- venlafaxine (Effexor XR)
- lewomilnacipran (Fetzima)
These drugs also signal changes in brain chemistry to improve mood and anxiety.
Some antidepressants work better than others, and antidepressants that work well for one person may not work well for another. Therefore, your doctor may need to prescribe a variety of medications for you until you find one that works for your individual symptoms.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
If your social anxiety disorder is so severe that you are experiencing panic attacks, your doctor may prescribe an MAOI for you. These are antidepressants that aim to avoid social anxiety attacks.
MAOIs also work with chemicals in your brain to stop monoamine oxidase, which removes certain neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and other chemicals that boost your mood.
Some popular forms of this drug are phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate), which have been shown to help with panic attacks.
Beta-blockers are commonly used to lower high blood pressure but are sometimes prescribed to treat physical symptoms of anxiety, such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating, or tremors.
These drugs – including propranolol (Inderal) and atenolol (Tenormin) – block the stimulating effects of adrenaline. Beta-blockers are also an option for the treatment of performance anxiety, which is a form of social anxiety.
Anti-anxiety medications are also prescribed for social anxiety. Some of these drugs include:
- diazepam (Valium)
- lorazepam (Ativan)
- clonazepam (Klonopin)
- alprazolam (Xanax)
These drugs tend to work quickly, but they can be addictive or have a sedative effect. For this reason, your doctor may not prescribe a long-term anxiolytic medication.
Anti-anxiety medicines shouldn’t be in the first line of treatment for social anxiety disorders. However, doctors also know that some people will not respond adequately to other types of treatment.
The decision to use these drugs will need to be made after a discussion with your doctor, considering how they can benefit you against the possibility of addiction.
There are several benefits to therapy for social anxiety. The main one is that you can discuss your thoughts and feelings with your therapist, and he/she will help you discover the root cause of the problem.
Other benefits of therapy may include:
- make a plan to help you overcome anxiety
- have a safe place to express fears
- developing skills to recognize your triggers
- developing healthier habits to combat anxiety
If your social anxiety seems too overwhelming to handle, it’s important to speak to a mental health professional. Psychotherapy is an effective treatment in itself and could be even more effective when combined with medication.
In psychotherapy, you will learn techniques to change negative thoughts about yourself. Psychotherapy for social anxiety is the type of therapy that can help you get to the root of your anxious reactions.
Through role-playing and other methods, you will learn how to improve your interactions in social environments, which can help build your self-confidence.
You can join a local or online support group for social anxiety disorder. Here you will connect with people who understand what you are going through as they are coping with the same condition.
While attending meetings of support groups, you can discuss your understandings, learn coping methods from others, and perhaps role-play together.
Being a member of a support group and chatting about your phobias is also excellent training for interacting with others in social circumstances. Support groups are a great reminder that you are not the only one to live with this type of phobia. Social settings and interactions are a source of anxiety and fear for many people.
If you are worried about saying something bad or about being judged by people, remember that others feel the same way. Keeping this in mind can help you navigate social situations.
What is Anxiety?
In Layman’s language, ‘Worrying about the future and making false scenarios’ is anxiety. It is the natural response of the body to stress, and stress comes from overthinking. It’s the feeling of fear of failure in situations like not scoring good marks in exams, excelling at job interviews, saying no to certain things or certain people, etc.
Let me make one point clear here. Social anxiety is not restricted to age, gender, place, or any other factors. Anxiety is everywhere. Few people realize, and few people ignore it.
Now that we have discussed a few foundation points about anxiety, it’s time to build proper knowledge. So let’s start with the meaning of anxiety.
People face a lot of societal pressures daily. As a result, they fall into thinking scenarios of ‘What if’s and ‘What if it’s. This feeling of helplessness is known as anxiety. If this is not addressed for a long time, then you may face severe anxiety disorders.
What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
In simple terms, social anxiety disorder attack is becoming awkward or nervous in front of strangers. Remember the time where you felt the urge to leave a room where you didn’t even know a single face there or the time where your palms were all sweating because of tomorrow’s big day at work? You might have calmed yourself by saying breathe in and breathe out a thousand times, but we know your feeling at that time. It’s dangerous and painful as hell.
Social anxiety disorder attack generally happens during social interactions like :
- Talking to new people
- Public speaking
- Going clubbing
- When asking questions or doubts
- Making eye contact
- Greeting people
Small talk isn’t a piece of cakewalk for everyone! People have different strengths and weaknesses. Everyone deserves a chance to talk about their fears. Socially anxious people are always cautious because they fear judgment. Let us discuss a few social anxiety symptoms further.
Rapid heart rate: It feels like the world is running faster without you. With every extra minute spent there, every unit of energy is drained out. They feel lethargic or lightheaded.
Difficulty in speaking: Most people face this. Whenever people are nervous, their palms sweat, they face difficulty in speaking. They immediately start shivering or trembling.
Fear of judgment: Socially awkward people are excessively stressed by society. They always feel they are being judged or manipulated into doing something.
Avoiding social gatherings: Completely ignoring the world and sitting in the corner with popcorn and chips is the exact lifestyle of socially anxious people. They are always happy in their little world. They avoid social gatherings, parties, small talks, etc. They constantly worry about people meddling with their privacy.
Show’s stopper: Social anxious people are worried about being the center of attraction. They are stressed in social situations because they are cautious about people noticing their energy.
According to research, there is no clear evidence to say that something particular can cause social anxiety. Instead, there could be thousands of reasons why people behave in specific ways.
But we do have few points to discuss the causes of social anxiety.
- Bullying: One of every five students faces bullying, and approximately 1,60,000 students have skipped school because of bullying. People who face bullying in their early teens have aggression and fear stuffed in them, which may have led to anxiety in later stages of life.
- Family conflicts: Most dangerous yet common cause is family conflicts. Many people face family conflicts from an early age of life. It makes their life hard with intractable pain and fears.
- Sexual abuse: There is sexual abuse and body-shaming everywhere, and it is not only limited to women; men also face body-shaming. This is again a root cause of social anxiety.
Anxiety is normal: Think that Anxiety is normal. Everyone experiences anxiety in one or the other situations, and sharing the fears helps to learn and grow.
Anxiety is helpful: Wondering how? Here is the fact. Anxiety is a boon if understood positively. Anxiety helps in coping with the danger. It helps in making mistakes and learning from them. Freezing, issues with language in a new city, inability to manage crowd questions, etc., are extreme situations that are widespread issues people face. Always fight the battle rather than imagining the scenarios of losing.
Anxiety is a routine: Anxiety is a part of your life. Every day, we face many situations where we have to deal with millions of people and their thoughts. Say to your mind a ‘Deal with it, and then go for it.
If social anxiety is not taken care of, it becomes worse. In certain situations where you face pressure, the physical and emotional experience could be linked. If not addressed, then it becomes a dangerous disorder.
Here are a few most commonly available holistic treatments for social anxiety:
Hypnotism for social anxiety helps in the healing of the mind. In this process, the person will be taken to a trance where most people experience relaxation of mind and lower blood pressure levels. The ultimate goal of this treatment is to erase the body’s painful experiences.
While in the subconscious state, the patient will be highly proactive and responsive to the therapist. At the end of every session, you will be brought back to alertness, and the therapist will guide you further.
Before starting this process, the doctor has to check the patient’s complete medical history, provide suitable medications, and give a comprehensive brief of how hypnosis works.
Acupuncture is an ancient practice that has come to trend in recent times. It is the method of needling the body’s energy points to make the mind and body linked and feel relaxed.
There have been continuous debates and diverse viewpoints on acupuncture treatment for social anxiety disorder. One perspective is that Acupuncture is a safe practice that comes with few side effects which can be dealt with with proper medications. Still, one study from 2015 gave promising stats and evidence that Acupuncture is highly effective in healing social anxiety.
In your first visit to an acupuncturist, the doctor will ask you a few questions about your symptoms of social anxiety and what you are looking for to heal. Then they’ll ask about your medical history, and current medical practices if any. This could be the right time to ask all those doubts and questions to the doctor.
During the session, the doctor will insert big needles in the pressure points into your body. This process will take at least 10 to 30 minutes. Then, based on your body response, the acupuncturist might twist the needle or apply an electrical pulse. It might take around 20 minutes before the doctor removes the needle from your body.
This process might not look appealing at the start, but many say that it is effective. So before making any decision, do research and visit the doctor.
Homeopathy for social anxiety is a natural treatment for health conditions. Homeopathy medicines are made from extracts of leaves, roots, flowers, a few selected species, etc. There are different types of homeopathic medicines. Few look like powder which should be diluted in water and drink; then there are syrups, tablets, etc.
Few researchers say that homeopathic medicines help patients to stay calm and centered during an anxious state. It also improves the quality of sleep. But, there is a significant ongoing debate on the side effects part. Few say it is entirely safe to opt for homeopathic treatment, and few say it may cause some initial mild exacerbation of symptoms.
Generally, the duration of the treatment depends on the severity of the patient. The doctor, before giving the prescription, will analyze the patient’s medical history, their past and current medical practices; few tests are made to know if the patient is allergic to some food or not.
Some of the commonly prescribed medicines for Anxiety are Aconite, Arsenicum album, Gelsemium, Silica. But it is always advisable to visit the doctor and take the prescription.
Homeopathic medicine is a safe and natural form of treatment for social anxiety that aims to get to the root cause of a problem. In my practice, I design treatment plans based on the person’s specific needs and prescribe remedies to help resolve what is unique to them.
Homeopathy seeks to uncover the fundamental issues that must lead those suffering from social anxiety to adapt and adapt their behavior in social situations. Examples of these adaptive behaviors are things like avoiding common areas, disengaging from group conversations, or turning down invitations to social events.
I’ll look at the root cause factors that contribute to the symptoms associated with social anxiety. The commonalities we explore together can be, but are not limited to:
Argentum Nitricum is a homeopathic remedy that is often prescribed for those who are anxious, insecure, and living in a state of constant fear. Their intense mind means those patients often focus on “what if”. For example, what if something bad happens, what if I’m late, what if I forget my lines, what if I miss the train. They suffer from extreme anticipation before big events, meetings, interviews, exams, doctor or dentist visits. They are claustrophobic, fearful of being trapped, and may panic until they have planned an emergency exit route. Even when they are afraid of heights, they feel that they need to resist the reckless urge to jump from a height. They are superstitious that something terrible is going to happen. Physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, severe diarrhea, tremors, throbbing headaches, and sweating can cause anxiety. They are prone to insomnia due to anxiety and may vomit in anticipation of the event they fear.
Natrum Muriaticum is a popular homeopathic remedy for introverts – people that are very sensitive. These people are also afraid of getting hurt or hurting others. Any public circumstances can be enormously difficult for them, as they are afraid to be rejected. The scared of ridicule, and humiliation. In a group situation, they are calm and prefer one-on-one communication. They are confidential and talk little about their feelings to protect their feelings of vulnerability. Despite the fact that they feel lonely and depressed, they isolate themselves, preferring to be alone with themselves. There is often a story of grief, loss, or disappointment where they have been injured or injured and have since been fenced off with a wall to cope with the pain.
Ambra Grisea has proven to be an effective remedy for those who are easily embarrassed. Such individuals are aware of such things as using public toilets, body odors, noise cleaning, or intimacy. They fight to be able to do no matter what in the company of other individuals for fear of embarrassing themselves. Often shy, they blush easily. They find it difficult to converse and suffer deeply when they talk to others. When they talk to others, their thoughts seem to disappear. They are uncomfortable talking about their feelings and prefer to be left alone.
Social anxiety is something more significant than just a fear of the public and needs to be addressed and treated as soon as possible. Anxiety can happen without warning or any symptom. There are few hidden symptoms of social anxiety, such as not being able to sleep, not sitting steadily at one place, or facing issues with your regular diet.
Try to focus on yourself. Wake up early, start exercising, eat more colorful fruits, spend time with your loved ones, maintain a journal. Throw out all the junk from your mind and stay fresh.
If however, you need more aggressive treatment of social anxiety disorder choose Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic and meet Dr. Tsan. Ask, which holistic treatment for social anxiety is more appropriated for you. At the clinic, we provide acupuncture, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, reiki, and more.
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