Social Anxiety





It’s the first day of the Spring semester and that very familiar nauseous, panicky feeling is growing in the pit of your stomach.  It’s not that you’re afraid the classes will be too challenging, it’s the people in the classes that make you nervous.  You’ll probably have to introduce yourself to total strangers and may even have to respond to questions from your professors.  The mere thought of introducing yourself to an entire class of strangers fills you with fright.

Although the specific trigger of your social phobia may be different, the feelings are similar.  Dry mouth, rapid heart rate, fear, you may possibly even tremble.  These are some of the classic symptoms of social anxiety and they’re not pleasant to experience.

Common triggers of social anxiety are meeting new people, attending work meetings, making phone calls, going to job interviews, and of course attending classes.  You may feel self conscious when shopping, as if people are staring at you.  Although you may realize in your head that these feelings are irrational, that doesn't make the fear any less real.  In fact the more you dwell upon your symptoms, the worse your anxiety may become.

The good news is that you can overcome your fears.  Cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven to be very effective in treating social anxiety.  If you’ve got the will power to really throw yourself into treatment, improvement is usually rapid.  It’s important to seek guidance from a medical professional so that you can develop a game plan on how to deal with your own unique situation.

Medical professionals will often prescribe both one-on-one and group therapy.  Group therapy is particularly effective in that you can confront your fears in a positive, supportive environment.  A therapist can design an effective program to defeat your particular phobia.  For instance, you’re terrified of an upcoming job interview?  Your therapist can do mock interviews with you which may boost your confidence immensely.

Part of your treatment to overcome social anxiety may include a variety of medications.  Many of the same drugs that are prescribed to treat Generalized Anxiety Disorder are effective in treating social phobias.  You can read more about medications for anxiety here.

Whatever you do, don’t resign yourself to the fate of living with social anxiety.  You can overcome it.  Motivate yourself to fight it and seek help.  You can find more information on treating social phobias here.