Intense anxiety or dread of being assessed, adversely evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance context is the defining trait of social anxiety, also known as social phobia. People with a social anxiety disorder may be concerned about being judged as foolish, uncomfortable, or uninteresting if they act or appear worried (e.g., blushing, tripping over words).
As a result, they avoid social or performance settings as much as possible, and when they can’t avoid them, they endure substantial worry and anguish. When confronted with a feared circumstance, many people with social anxiety suffer intense physical symptoms such as a racing heart, nausea, and sweating, and may even have full-blown panic episodes. People with social anxiety Attacks often feel helpless, despite the fact that they know their worry is excessive and illogical.
Social anxiety disorder affects over 15 million adults in the United States, making it the second most commonly diagnosed anxiety condition after specific phobia. The usual onset age for social anxiety disorder is during adolescence. Although people with social anxiety disorder frequently experience intense shyness as a child, it’s vital to remember that this isn’t the same as shyness.
The effects of social anxiety disorder can be devastating to people who suffer from it. Individuals may, for example, refuse a job that requires frequent interaction with new people or avoid going out to eat with friends because they are afraid their hands may shake while eating or drinking.
Symptoms can be so severe that they interrupt everyday life, interfering with daily routines, occupational performance, and social life, making it difficult to finish school, interview for and obtain a job, and maintain friendships and love relationships. People with social anxiety disorder are more likely to develop major depressive disorder and alcoholism.
Despite the availability of effective treatments, only around 5% of persons with social anxiety disorder seek therapy within a year of the onset of symptoms, and more than a third of people with the illness report problems for 10 years or more before seeking help.
Introduction: social anxiety disorder
The intensity of the emotional and physical symptoms, as well as how well you operate on a daily basis, determine the treatment options for social anxiety disorder (SAD). Treatment duration varies as well. Some people may respond well to first treatment and require no additional assistance, while others may require ongoing assistance throughout their lives.
Both medication and therapy have been shown effective in treating social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety that occurs in all situations responds best to a combination of medication and therapy, while therapy alone is often sufficient for people with anxiety specific to one type of performance or social situation. So, if you’ve been diagnosed or think you may have SAD, know that it’s possible to overcome it.
Prescribed medication for social anxiety disorder
SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) is treated with a number of different drugs. Depending on the situation, each offers its own set of perks and downsides. A systematic review of the effectiveness of medication in SAD treatment showed a small to medium-sized effect—with all of the following categories of medications showing improvements.
This means that several different types of medication may be helpful in improving symptoms of social anxiety disorder, and that one may be a useful form of treatment for you.
These therapies are given below.
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors SSRIs are considered the first-line pharmacological treatment because of their mild side effects and ease of administration. However, because of the risk of withdrawal symptoms, SSRIs should always be tapered when treatment is finished. Options include,
- Paxil CR (paroxetine)
- Luvox CR (fluvoxamine)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
SNRIs are a class of antidepressants used in anxiety treatment that acts on the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. Options include:
- Effexor XR (venlafaxine)
- Cymbalta (duloxetine)
- Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) were long thought to be the most effective treatment for social anxiety disorder; however, if dietary and medication recommendations are not followed, significant side effects might occur. The following are some of the possibilities:
- Nardil (phenelzine)
- Parnate (tranylcypromine)
- Marplan (isocarboxazid)
Beta-blockers are commonly used orally prior to an anxiety-inducing event, such as a performance, to alleviate anxiety symptoms such as high heart rate, hand tremors, and the “butterflies in the stomach” sensation. There are a variety of options given below.
- Inderal (propranolol)
- Tenormin (atenolol)
Benzodiazepines are modest tranquilizers that work by slowing down the central nervous system and thereby alleviating anxiety symptoms. Benzodiazepines, despite being quick-acting and well-tolerated, have the potential to become addictive and should not be provided to anyone who has a substance abuse problem. There are a variety of options given below.
- Ativan (lorazepam)
- Valium (diazepam)
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Klonopin (clonazepam)
Moreover, Benzodiazepines are considered the first line of treatment for Social anxiety disorder (SAD).
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is the first-line psychotherapeutic treatment for SAD. It is a form of psychotherapy designed to modify your thoughts and behaviors in order to positively influence your emotions.
There are three types of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Cognitive restructuring
- Social skill training
Exposure might take the shape of visualizing or really experiencing a specific performance or social environment. If patients have a severe case of social anxiety, the concerned therapist may start with imagined exposures before moving on to real-life exposures.
The cognitive symptoms of SAD are poor self-esteem, fear of negative assessment by others, and negative attribution bias, therefore cognitive restructuring focuses on them (attributing positive outcomes to chance and negative outcomes to own shortcomings).
Social skill training
Various exercises such as modeling, rehearsing, and role-playing is used in social skills training to assist people to acquire proper behavior and reduce anxiety in social situations. Social skills training will not be required for everyone as part of their treatment. These exercises are meant for persons who have true social interaction deficiencies in addition to social anxiety. Eye contact, discussion, assertiveness, and phone conversations are all areas that could benefit from social skills training.
Summary: social anxiety disorder
Social anxiety affects over 15 million adults in the United States, making it the second most commonly diagnosed anxiety condition after specific phobia. The usual onset age for social anxiety is adolescence. Although people with social anxiety disorder frequently experience intense shyness as a child, it’s vital to remember that this isn’t the same as shyness. SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) is treated with a number of different drugs.
Depending on the situation, each offers its own set of perks and downsides. A systematic review of the effectiveness of medication in SAD treatment showed a small to medium-sized effect—with all of the categories of medications mentioned in this blog showing improvements. Social skills training involves various exercises such as modeling, rehearsal, and role-playing designed to help people learn appropriate behaviors and decrease anxiety in social situations.
However Social skills training will not be required for everyone as part of their treatment. These exercises are meant for persons who have true social interaction deficiencies in addition to social anxiety. Eye contact, discussion, assertiveness, and phone conversations are all areas that could benefit from social practice.