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Social Phobia

There are a number of social situations that commonly make people nervous: speaking in front of a crowded room, performing or singing in front of a group, going on a date. When social phobia is an issue, however, the butterflies in your stomach turn to nausea and may be accompanied by other signs of full-fledged panic, including shaking, sweating, dizziness and other symptoms. Intense fear and anxiety result as well.

Does this sound like your experience when you know you’ll have to go out in public or interact with strangers in a social situation? Do you want help to stop feeling so self-conscious? Do you want to learn how to relax and enjoy yourself rather than worry? Contact us today to learn more about the mental health treatment options that can be used to successfully treat social phobia.

*Worrying About Worrying: The Cycle of Social Phobia

For many, an impending social occasion is enough to start the symptoms of panic and anxiety. This can go on for days, or even weeks, prior to the event. The buildup of worry only serves to make the anxiety on the day of the social event even more intense – and increase the severity of the symptoms as well.

*Any Public Experience Can Trigger Social Phobia

It doesn’t have to be a graduation speech or a first date to incite a panic attack when social phobia is at issue. It can be seemingly insignificant interactions like:

  • Making a request to a bank teller or grocery store clerk
  • Using a public restroom
  • Speaking to a waiter
  • Going into a room where a group is already assembled and focused on a speaker
  • Starting a conversation – or maintaining a conversation – with a stranger
  • Making eye contact with others

Medications Used in the Treatment of Social Phobia

If you are struggling with social phobia and you want the most comprehensive treatment possible, medications may be a productive part of your recovery. There are a number of different types of drugs that are prescribed to help you deal with social phobia, including:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These are the most commonly prescribed medications for social phobia (e.g., Paxil, Zoloft, Luvox, Prozac, and others).
  • Antidepressants (non-SSRI). A number of different types of antidepressants may be helpful in making you feel more at ease in social situations.
  • Benzodiazepines. These anti-anxiety medications can be helpful in easing your discomfort, but they are highly addictive and should be used sparingly and with caution.
  • Beta blockers. These are best used on an as-needed basis – right before a performance or speaking in front of a crowd – since they block adrenaline and allow you to remain calm.

No matter which medication is used, it may take up to three months to find the right dose and begin to notice an improvement in your symptoms.

Treatment for Social Phobia Should Be Personal

Calling a therapist and making an appointment is enough to trigger a panic attack for someone with a social phobia. But attending therapy sessions and working slowly and steadily toward learning how to interact with strangers without anxiety or fear is a big part of treatment. So, too, are medications and treatment for other co-occurring disorders like depression. It’s important that your treatment plan is developed according to your needs so that you get the most effective recovery possible.