Social phobia was first introduced in the 1900s when psychiatrists started using the term to describe patients who suffer from excessive shyness. In 1960, Isaac Marks proposed the symptoms and treatment for social anxiety disorder, which is a distinct type of anxiety issue among some people. The disorder was eventually recognized and presented in the American Psychiatric Association. The third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders featured and explained relevant information about this type of anxiety disorder.
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Psychiatrists recommend different types of drugs as treatment for social anxiety disorder. The most common type of medication prescribed to patients is the SSRI or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. Doctors may advise patients to take one of the following SSRIs for those who experience persistent symptoms and discomfort caused by social anxiety:
– Sertraline (Zoloft)
– Flouxetine (Sarafem, Prozac)
– Proxetine (Paxil)
– Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
– Venlafaxine (Effexor)
Initially, doctors may recommend you to start with a low dose and increase gradually until the full dose is attained. The treatment period depends on the severity of the condition, and it may take at least three months before you can notice significant improvement in their symptoms. For better results, it is important to take the medication as recommended. Furthermore, you should consult your doctor when you notice some changes in your overall condition.
There are also alternative medication options that a doctor may prescribe. For instance, some patients may take anti-depressants or anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines. While these medications may work immediately, they may be sedating, addictive and habit-forming. Considering these effects, psychiatrists prescribe these drugs for a short period only.
The common approaches in treating social anxiety disorder include exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Doctors may advise a combination of therapy and medication when necessary.
Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT helps you overcome your fears by identifying and altering their negative thought patterns. It also allows you to be in control of their body’s responses to anxiety. Because of these, it is easier for patients to address the emotional and physical effects of the disorder.
Exposure therapy, on the other hand, is a therapeutic approach associated with CBT. It helps you face your fears as you are repeatedly exposed to stressful and challenging social situations. A mental health expert may ask you to imagine and experience different discomforting social settings. Then, you may be presented with the audience evaluations as you performed in public. With this type of therapy, you are able to realize your anxieties and fears, so you may become aware of your psychological problems.
Aside from these approaches, your doctor may introduce stress management and relaxation techniques that will help you perform better in social settings.
You can never tell when someone or something can cause you to feel anxious, so you need to consider the following steps in reducing the severity of social anxiety disorder symptoms.
1. Identify your issues and try to get help promptly. Keep in mind that as with any type of mental health condition, the symptoms may be difficult to treat when you wait for these to become worse.
2. Write down your feelings by keeping a diary or journal. When you keep track of your thoughts and feelings, you can discuss these easily with your doctor. You will also be able to determine the situations that cause you stress, as well as the possible techniques that can make you feel better.
3. Follow a healthy diet. You should eat wholesome and nutritious food and eliminate alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and other harmful substances that can cause anxiety.
4. Join a support group and communicate with people who can boost your confidence and self-esteem. You may also participate in sports or worthwhile hobbies that can improve your energy levels and mood.
In time, these self-help methods can help you control discomforting symptoms and inhibit a relapse. You should also remember that you can overcome anxious moments, and that any uncomfortable situation is short-lived. Furthermore, subscribe to S.A.Solutions Newsletter for additional support on how to break away completely from social anxiety. When you subscribe, you will recieve a free newsletter for 5 consecutive days, then once to twice a week after that. S.A.Solutions gives you effective techniques on how to be more confident and prevent symptoms linked with social anxiety disorder.
Social anxiety disorder may cause you to develop irrational fears, embarrassment and self-consciousness. The symptoms may even prevent you from participating well in public, so you should obtain the right treatment that can enhance your ability to deal with various social situations and boost your potentials for success.
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