Social Anxiety Disorder treatment, Recovery

6 Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment Methods: Medico therapy

Are you plotting a story to avoid that company meeting?

Is your anxiety way beyond your control?

If you have not already consulted a medical practitioner, this might be a good time to.

Through this article, explore the broad range of social anxiety disorder treatment options available for you to implement, in order to overcome social anxiety disorder.

Although practitioners are well versed in handling patients with different personalities, beliefs, and mindsets, a well-informed person is likely to benefit handsomely from the professional help they provide.

Doing your research, homework, and preparing yourself before visiting a professional, would help you make the most out of your sessions. It’s like going to a math class, having learned what the professor is about to teach. You are at par with the professor in terms of understanding and can resolve your doubts much before the professor takes on the next topic.

Updating the data you receive and read from time to time, would also help you stay ahead of the game.

Social anxiety disorder treatment

How to deal with social anxiety disorder?

Let’s be honest, like most mental health disorders, there is no one way of going about dealing with social anxiety. Social Anxiety cures are a combination of professional intervention and self-help methods.

What might work just fine for one individual might not work at all for another. Whereas, some people might require social anxiety disorder treatment medications supplemented with self-improvement techniques.

If you notice warning signs of social anxiety and these are not just occasional shyness and disinterest, these are symptoms that hamper your everyday activities and smooth flow of life in a professional and personal capacity, you must visit a medical professional.

A psychiatrist is authorized to test you for social anxiety disorder and determine the degree to which you suffer from it. It will not only help them determine if your SAD is related to another comorbidity but also prescribe the specific corrective measures and medications that you need.

Also Read: Social Anxiety Disorder Test: myths and facts discussed.

Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder

When dealing with social anxiety, do not hesitate to seek all the help and support that you need. This could be from family, friends, professionals, and others.

Like any other challenge, treating Social Anxiety Disorder requires adhering to the techniques and medications as provided by the medical professionals (psychiatrists as well as psychologists).

Listed below are some common Social Anxiety Disorder treatment methods.

1. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs raise the level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter or chemical signal that regulates mood and brings anxiety under control.

This form of antidepressant is prescribed for individuals suffering from major depression, social and other anxiety disorders, panic disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Sometimes SAD can occur with other comorbidities (say depression), the dose for the medication is prescribed in accordance with the degree to which the disorder affects the patient and whether another underlying ailment is having a compounded effect on his/her mental health.

Social Anxiety Disorder treatment, SSRI

List of SSRIs:

  1. Paroxetine: immediate and extended relief
  2. Fluoxetine
  3. Sertraline

Points to remember:

  • Prescription: Required (for administration, change in dose).
  • Common side effects: sweating, rashes, nausea, weakness, dizziness, sleeplessness, some male genital disorders and more.
  • CDSCO: Drugs must be approved by the regulatory body for administration in India.
  • Risk: People at risk include poor medical history, under active medication, pregnant women, suicidal tendencies. (Kindly disclose all medical information as requested by the doctor).

2.  Selective Serotonin & Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SSNRIs)

SSNRIs raise the level of serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain. These neurotransmitters or chemical signals help alleviate stress and manage anxiety.

They are prescribed for people suffering from depression, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety disorders, and panic disorders to name a few.

Social Anxiety Disorder treatment methods, SSNRI

List of SSNRIs:

  1. Venlafaxine
  2. Duloxetine

Points to remember:

  • Prescription: Required (for administration, change in dose).
  • Common side effects: sweating, rashes, high B.P, headache, sleeplessness, nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, abnormal vision, throat inflammation, genital disorders, weight fluctuation and more.
  • CDSCO: Drugs must be approved by this regulatory body for administration in India.
  • Risk: People at risk include poor medical history, under active medication, pregnant women. (Kindly disclose all medical information as requested by the doctor).

3.  Alternative social anxiety medications

Alternative SSRIs and Benzodiazepines are recommended as second options medications. This happens when the A-list SSRIs and SSNRIs cannot be administered for the following reasons:

  • The patient is not showing any response to these medications
  • The patient is under treatment and is taking contradictory medications to the ones listed above.
  • The aforementioned drugs have not been able to help enough.

These medicines can come in handy until the primary SSRIs start showing effect. They help calm social anxiety symptoms within few hours of the dose.

Social Anxiety Disorder treatment-Benzodiazepines

List of Alternative SSRIs:

  1. Fluvoxamine: extended relief
  2. Citalopram
  3. Escitalopram

List of Benzodiazepines:

  1. Clonazepam
  2. Alprazolam

Points to Remember:

  • Prescription: Required (for administration, change in dose).
  • Common side effects: sweating, rashes, nausea, weakness, dizziness, sleeplessness, nervousness and agitation, genital disorders, weight loss, loss of appetite and more.
  • CDSCO: Drugs must be approved by the regulatory body for administration in India.
  • Risk: People at risk include poor medical history, under active medication, pregnant women, suicidal tendencies. (Kindly disclose all medical information as requested by the doctor).
  • WARNING: Benzodiazepines are addictive and may cause withdrawal symptoms during weaning off stages. Please consult a doctor regarding the same.

4.  Beta-Blockers

Epinephrine, a neurotransmitter that sends chemical signals to the brain for impending stress which prepares the body for fight, fright, or flight.

 Among persons suffering from SAD, the most common response is that of ‘flight’. Avoiding stressful situations or escaping social setups seems like the easiest of choices to make.

Beta-blockers are a class of medicines that obstruct the effect of epinephrine.

They subdue symptoms like rapid heart rate, shaky voice, clumsy legs, and blood pressure. This relief is temporary and beta-blockers are used on occasion for situation-specific release.

Beta-Blockers can help improve symptoms specifically related to performance-induced social anxiety disorder but are not recommended for general social anxiety disorder treatment.

Social Anxiety Disorder treatment, BetaBlockers

List of Beta Blockers

  1. Propranolol
  2. Atenolol

Points to remember:

  • Prescription: Required (for administration, change in dose).
  • Common side effects: fatigue, cold limbs, headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, vomiting and more.
  • CDSCO: Drugs must be approved by this regulatory body for administration in India.
  • Risk: People at risk include poor medical history, under active medication, pregnant women, suicidal tendencies. (Kindly disclose all medical information as requested by the doctor).
  • WARNING: Call a doctor immediately if you experience abnormal swelling, low blood sugar, or abnormally irregular heartbeat.

For in-depth knowledge regarding medical drugs: use, side effects, storage, and more, visit: Drugs for Social Anxiety Disorder

5.  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic technique used to treat a number of mental health problems. In order to overcome the challenge of social anxiety, it is important to receive Cognitive Behavioural Therapy specific to Social Anxiety Disorder.

CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder helps overcome the following challenges:

  1. Low self esteem
  2. Negative self-talk
  3. Destructive thinking pattern and catastrophising
  4. Perfectionism and fear of failure
  5. Anger and aggression
  6. People pleasing habits
  7. Social Anxiety induced procrastination
  8. Fear of judgement

The therapist teaches individuals to be assertive, socially available, face fears head on, and apply various concepts during various social situations.

Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Points to remember:

  • Results: Commonly, 12-20 weeks for visible improvement (might vary from person to person). Largely in the hands of the patient.
  • Demands: Willingness to improve, regular practise, conscious and subconscious involvement, roleplaying and completion of assignments (if any). 
  • Visits: Number and frequency may vary depending on your level of recovery.

6.  Support Groups

Yes! You read that right!

Past studies have shown that support groups supervised by experienced therapists are a good supplement to other social anxiety disorder treatment methods.

You might think: How can a person suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder participate in support groups?

Simply put: Birds of a feather flock together. It has been observed that people find comfort in meeting those who are suffering from conditions similar to them.

It is like meeting someone who understands exactly what you are going through. A sense of belonging and strong bonds builds over time. You feel safe and comfortable enough to share your vulnerabilities.

Dealing with social anxiety, support groups

Points to remember:

  • Results: Commonly, 12-15 sessions for visible improvement (might vary from person to person). Largely in the hands of the participant.
  • Demands: Willingness to improve, regularity, constant and voluntary participation, completion of assignments (if any).
  • Risk: Developing a dependency on support group individuals.

Can Social Anxiety be cured with medications?

Can social anxiety be cured with medications

Complete recovery has been observed in certain individuals with the proper Social Anxiety Disorder treatment.

On the other hand, there have been several cases wherein, an individual has relapsed despite receiving the correct treatment.

However, which category you belong to would depend upon a variety of problems like age, gender, past experiences, social life, degree of severity, willpower, etc.

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions regarding the same:

What is the best pill for social anxiety?

Though the most common form of pills used is Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, there is no hard and fast rule regarding which pill is the best for treatment of social anxiety disorder.

Doctors prescribe medicines based on your medical history, active treatment, allergies, pregnancy status (for women), and a range of such factors.

The primary drugs administered by doctors (SSRIs and SNRIs) would be followed up with other antidepressants and alternative drugs as the doctor sees fit.  

Does social anxiety get worse with age?

Social Anxiety Disorder does not necessarily amplify with age but it is commonly observed in individuals belonging to middle-aged groups.

A variety of factors could be the cause of this: a sudden change in appearance, change of place, transitioning into the adult stage, wrong notions regarding social status, and destructive criticism to name a few.

Certain individuals who suffer from the condition but are unaware of it or show reluctance to accept it and take measures might notice the problem spiraling out of control as time passes. If left untreated, the condition would advance as this person ages and might begin hampering everyday functions.

However, certain individuals who show recognition of the presence of the disorder and take respective remedial steps, the condition can be controlled and even overturned.

Always remember: It is never too late to seek help.

What can you not do with social anxiety?

There are a number of issues that might occur in day-to-day activities for someone with social anxiety disorder. Problems include: not being able to face your fears, avoiding social setups (parties, conferences, meetings, weddings, public speaking events), making eye contact, starting conversations, performing in front of people, eating in front of others, and walking into a room and more.

These problems stem from the fear of being judged or being embarrassed and hold an individual from enjoying any experience whether in the professional field, personal life, or relationships.

What about social anxiety that stems from COVID?

The question that is looming largely off late is ‘How do I deal with social anxiety after Covid?’.

Isolation during the pandemic and disconnection from human contact apart from those you share residential space with has become a leading concern in recent times. The pandemic struck India in January of 2020 and lockdown began in the month of April.

This drove people to stay indoors in order to stay safe. Although social media and messaging apps kept us connected with our friends and family, human contact and tête-à-tête experiences reduced tremendously.

After a year of staying locked indoors, many people started realizing that they were becoming more and more comfortable with staying in and aloof from the world.

This is alarming as the minute the world recovers from the pandemic and steps into the new normal, there would be a rise in the number of people suffering from SAD.

The best way to deal with social anxiety after COVID would be recognizing its presence, surfing the net for self-help techniques as well as contacting the nearest medical practitioner.

Conclusion:

It is important to recognize the symptoms and to seek the correct social anxiety disorder treatment. Through this article, I have highlighted some common medications and techniques required to overcome Social Anxiety Disorder. Please remember, a medical practitioner will customize the treatment techniques that you need to follow for your recovery. There’s also a segment that offers answers regarding SAD’s relation to age, what activities one cannot perform when suffering from it, COVID-related social anxiety, and more.

I hope this article has given you some valuable insights.

Let me know in the comments below, how this article was of help to you.

Together we stand, together we can.

References: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-is-cbt-used-to-treat-sad-3024945

https://www.healthline.com/health/beta-blockers-for-anxiety

https://www.medindia.net/drugs/medical-condition/social-anxiety-disorder.htm

https://www.goodrx.com/conditions/generalized-anxiety-disorder/medications-for-social-anxiety-disorder

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.