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5 Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment Options

Gloria Goodwin's picture
5 Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment Options

Social anxiety can be defined as fear, emotional discomfort or apprehension about social situations. This phobia can wreak havoc with an affected person's interpersonal interactions leading to irrational fear of participating in social activities. So, what treatment options are available for people suffering from this disorder? Come; let's get into the particulars of treating this psychological condition.


Cognitive-Behavior Therapy

This therapy helps one to identify different situations that provoke the anxiety. It basically takes a direct approach to the problem such that the more you face it, the more you get to know how to deal with it. There are several types of CBT that can be used in the treatment of social anxiety. These include:

Exposure Therapy

In exposure therapy, a professional guides you to imagine you are facing a particular social situation. As you consistently get exposed to this situation, you'll gradually find the fear fading away.

Social Skill Training

Through this therapy, one is taught how to develop various social skills through role playing. Once one is adequately prepared to deal with the specific anxiety trigger, they are able to avoid social anxiety.

Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive restructuring encourages for positive thinking in stopping unwanted thoughts.

  • Symptom Management Skills-Symptom management therapy helps one to reduce stress through physical responses such as breathe control.
  • Supportive Therapy- In order to fully recover from social anxiety, social support is ultimately important. Through supportive therapy, one is introduced to various support groups whereby they get to meet other people with similar conditions. Family therapy also forms an integral part of this approach.


  • SSRIs-Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (commonly known as SSRIs) are known to relieve anxiety. They are one of the most commonly prescribed forms of medication.
  • MAOIs-Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors are also prescribed for dealing with anxiety and depression. However, MAOIs have serious side effects if taken with red wine or cheese.
  • Beta-blockers- These are used in the treatment of some physical symptoms of anxiety e.g rapid heart rate.


Herbs contain natural composition of various chemical compounds that affect our heart, brain as well as other internal organs. Some of the best known herbal remedies for SAD include:

  • Passion Flower-Passion flower is rich in active components that help reduce social anxiety and occasional nervousness. It helps soothe the mind with its non drowsy sedative compounds.
  • Chamomile-Chamomile is very efficient in treating social anxiety without causing drowsiness. Its active compounds soothe the nerves and calm the mind thus relieving tension, restlessness and anxiety.
  • Winter Cherry-Also known as Ashwagandha root, this herb has been used for ages in the treatment of anxiety, depressed moods and mental fatigue.
  • Feverfew-Another good herbal remedy for SAD is this popular stress relaxant. It basically works by inhibiting the release of migraine onsetting substances.
  • Lavender-Lavender is one of the most effective essential oils in aroma therapy. It produces a smooth, calming and relaxing smell that can be used to stop anxiety. Apart from relaxing your body, lavender is also used as a general health tonic for the body nervous system.


Regular exercise can decrease anxiety. Normally, when you exercise, the levels of adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones) are lowered. You get used to physical sensations that are closely associated with the onset of anxiety e.g sweating and pounding of the heart. Thus exercises help you to see these sensations as a normal thing rather than a result of tension. Some of the best exercises that you can indulge in include: Breathing exercises, yoga and cardiovascular exercises.


Self help strategies are used to complement the effectiveness of other treatment options. These consist of: learning the facts about anxiety; building an individual strategy and working on bravery. Without these strategies, all the other treatment options discussed above cannot deliver the expected results. Social anxiety is an individual thing and if one wishes to make a transition, they need to start by training their minds and body on how to adapt to different social situations.

Just to summarize, there are no fixed ways of dealing with SAD. There also exists a difference in the treatment of anxiety disorder in adults and in children. Therefore, if you or your friend suffers from this disorder, consult a qualified psychologist to seek a complete and quick recovery.

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