There are many people who experience anxiety in social situations. Treatment for it is very effective. Read on to learn more about social anxiety disorder.
What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
As as anxiety disorder specialist like Lindsay Kiriakos M.D. will tell you, social anxiety disorder is when you feel self-conscious and worry that other people will have negative opinions about you. Strangers, authority figures, people you are attracted to, and group of peers are some of the most common triggers of this type of anxiety.
Is Social Anxiety Disorder Common?
Social anxiety disorder is quite common. In fact, social anxiety disorder affects roughly 15 million adults in the United States and is the second most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorder (after specific phobias). Social anxiety disorder typically first arises in people during their teenage years.
How Can You Treat Social Anxiety Disorder?
You can treat social anxiety disorder in a number of ways. Psychotherapy along with medication is the most common treatment method for social anxiety disorder. However, the type of treatment that your doctor recommends will depend partly on how much your social anxiety influences your ability to function in regular daily life and also your treatment preferences.
Some psychiatrists, such as Lindsay Kiriakos M.D., prefer to focus more on treating your social anxiety disorder with therapy. Medication may be a part of the treatment too though, depending on how intense your symptoms are and how quickly you want to see improvement.
Dr. Kiriakos, an expert in treating social anxiety notes that there are many kinds of psychotherapy, but cognitive behavioral therapy has the most evidence for being effective. A core part of cognitive-behavioral therapy consists of recognizing the negative thoughts you have about yourself in social settings and challenging them. Another core component consists of learning relaxation techniques and then repeatedly doing things just outside your comfort zone.
Successful Treatment Often Takes Some Time
One important thing to understand about treating social anxiety disorder successfully is that it typically takes some time. This amount of time can vary from patient to patient. However, you should make sure not to get frustrated or discouraged if the treatment does not work right away.
This is perfectly normal. You will likely have to learn new skills and then practice those skills in order to manage your social anxiety properly. Dr. Lindsay Kiriakos reminds you that doing so requires both time and commitment. You should see some significant results in as little as a few weeks though if the particular treatment you are trying is effective.
Can You Do Anything on Your Own to Help with Social Anxiety Disorder?
If you have a social anxiety disorder, it is best to consult a licensed mental health provider for proper evaluation and treatment. However, you can do some things on your own to help with your social anxiety. You can engage more in social situations involving people who already make you feel comfortable and then gradually expand from there. You can also stay out or on the phone a little longer than usual before stopping. You can also say one additional sentence such as “How is you day going?” to everyone you interact with. It is important to make sure that you only increase your exposure to various social situations gradually. Doing this with a therapist’s guidance and also after learning several techniques to control your anxiety greatly increases your chances of making rapid progress.