Treatment Options and Help for Social Anxiety

In our last blog, we went over how social anxiety differs from social anxiety disorder, and how to identify the signs. If you missed that blog, you can read it here:


If, after doing some research on this subject, you feel like you are dealing with social anxiety or phobia, you’re probably asking yourself what you can do about it. In this blog, we will go over different ways to cope, as well as different treatments that you can seek out on your path to wellness. 


One way to combat your fear of social situations is pretty straightforward, and that is to simply face them. Do the scary thing. While difficult, sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone and facing the challenge head on can help you realize that the thing you were so afraid of really isn’t as bad as you think. Oftentimes, our minds can convince us that things are much worse than they are in reality, and by confronting that fear, we can retrain our minds and become empowered. You may find that by bringing along a trusted friend or family member, especially at first, you’re able find the courage and strength to face the fear, making it easier each time you do it, until you feel ready to venture out on your own. Exposure therapy can also help with this. Exposure therapy consists of working with a licensed clinician to help you confront and actually expose yourself to the thing you are afraid of. While this blog goes over how exposure therapy is helpful for treating OCD, you may find it helpful to understand how it works and what it entails.


Another type of therapy that can help with social anxiety disorder is DBT therapy. You can learn more about that here:


Perhaps the most common type of therapy used in treating social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). In CBT, a patient and therapist work together in a structured setting to help the patient determine the root cause of their negative thinking, or reaction, to the presenting issue; in this case, being overly anxious or afraid of social situations. Through this type of therapy, the patient is able to identify and recognize the inaccuracy of their thinking compared to the reality of the situation, and develop coping mechanisms to walk them through their fear. 


In addition to therapy, there are some medications that can help when treating social anxiety disorder. It’s important to consult both with your primary care provider and your therapist before starting any new medications, but many patients have found that antidepressants or anti anxiety medications can help treat their social phobia. It’s also important to understand that many cases of social phobia can be treated with therapy alone, without medication, but it can rarely be treated with medication alone. 


In addition to therapies and medications, self care is also an integral part of treating social anxiety disorder. Your diet, sleep patterns, activity and stress levels can all exacerbate or lessen your social anxiety. It’s important to prioritize reflection, relaxation, healthy eating, good sleep,  and exercise for any mental health struggle, but especially for social anxiety disorder. When we are struggling in any of those areas, it can make social situations seem even more daunting or frightening, but when we are well rested, well nourished, and have taken time to center ourselves before and after the situations we fear or are anxious about, then they’re usually more manageable. 


If, while reading this, you find yourself ready to begin your mental health journey with a licensed professional, you can check out this blog to help you figure out where to start:

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