Treatment for Social Anxiety

Do You or Someone You Love Need Social Anxiety Treatment?

If you or a loved one has been suffering with the consequences of social anxiety disorder, you may have discovered first-hand the difficulty of living with this mental health condition.  Social anxiety disorder involves intense feelings of fear in social situations, to the point that most social situations or relationships are strictly avoided.  Living with this fear can severely handicap your ability to flourish as an individual or as a functioning member of society due to the incapacitating levels of fear and anxiety that are experienced with this disorder.  While social anxiety disorder treatment can be sought and utilized to heal from this condition, it can be difficult to seek treatment, as the person suffering with this mental condition will not typically reach out for help or desire treatment due to fear of rejection, judgment, or criticism.  If your loved one has been struggling with this condition, you may understand how difficult and overwhelming it can feel to live life on a daily basis. It is likely that you have experienced isolation, panic, hopelessness, depression, and other extreme emotions throughout your battle with social anxiety. In the case of social anxiety disorder, it is possible that other co-occurring disorders may be present, such as an eating disorder or other mental health issue.  Because social anxiety disorder can entail many complexities, it is important that you seek the help and support from a social anxiety treatment center for guidance in your healing and recovery journey.  If left untreated, a social anxiety disorder can affect the various aspects of your life in negative ways. Having professional treatment during this time can promote healing and offer guidance so that the effects of social anxiety are minimized.

Treatment Plan for Social Anxiety

A social anxiety disorder treatment team will approach this mental health condition comprehensively to address the various needs and concerns involved.  This will involve professionals versed in trainings and skills pertinent to your healing process, such as therapists, counselors, and medical providers.  By involving a skilled team of specialists, a reliable network will be developed that can assist you throughout the recovery process.  This team will consist of loved ones, a therapist, a social anxiety disorder healing program, and a support group. These four components will contribute tremendously to your ability to heal from social anxiety disorder:

  • Friends and Family – Friends and family are important in the healing process and should not be underestimated. When therapy and healing becomes difficult, they can provide the inspiration to continue.
  • Find a therapist – A therapist who specializes in social anxiety disorder will be able to create an individualized treatment plan. They will also help find and provide the resources needed for healing.
  • Search for a social anxiety disorder treatment facility – A social anxiety disorder program will assist with working through any physical or psychological issues that are present. It will also assist in addressing any ongoing co-occurring issues.
  • Engage in support groups and ongoing therapy – Joining a support group will help contribute to the success of dealing with social anxiety disorder. Ongoing therapy and support groups will help in working with the urges to stop therapy or taking medications. Their participation is vital and cannot be underestimated.

Treatment Levels for Social anxiety

Treatment for social anxiety disorder will typically involve a combination of medicinal treatments and psychotherapy, which are usually managed in the outpatient setting.  Various levels of treatment are available for the treatment of social anxiety disorder, depending on the individual needs and symptoms of for an adult, adolescent, or child diagnosed with this disorder. The following are common levels of care for social anxiety treatment, in order of acuity:

  • Outpatient Management Programs (OP) – This kind of social anxiety disorder facility can provide the patient with a regimented therapy schedule with greater flexibility.  Sessions are varied to include individual, family, and group therapy.
  • Support Group Programs – The support made available by the group is crucial in overcoming a social anxiety disorder. They give the patient acceptance without condemnation as the members have all walked the same road.

Types of Pharmacological Therapy for Social anxiety Treatment

Medicinal therapy can be a helpful part of managing the symptoms of social anxiety disorder so that psychotherapy can be more effective.  Several types of medications may be sued to treat social anxiety disorder, including the following:

  • Antidepressant medications, such as Paxil
  • Beta-Blockers, used to minimize any side effects of anxiety, such as heart palpitations or tremors.
  • Tranquilizers (benzodiazepines), such as Ativan or Klonopin

Types of Therapy for Social anxiety Treatment

One of the most effective treatments that are currently available for social anxiety behavior includes various forms of psychotherapy.  A social anxiety disorder treatment center will integrate useful modes of psychotherapy techniques to promote healing for the suffering individual, as well as their families and loved ones.  The following are the main types of psychotherapies that may be used for the treatment of social anxiety:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This category of rehabilitation is designed to work on a patient’s maladaptive ways of thinking as a way influencing their behavior with an approach that is more positive. This also assists the patient in developing coping skills that replace negative skills with positive ones.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – This type of therapy incorporates CBT and IPT behavioral therapies the patient can learn to control their emotions. It combines the stress management and mindful awareness parts of the therapies into the DBT therapy.
  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) – This type of therapy focuses on the interpersonal relations and societal functions using an encouraging and short-term psychotherapy while trying to help the patient find more effective ways of handling current crisis’ and concerns. IPT identifies role disputes, unresolved grief, relationship shortcomings, and role changes as the four basic areas.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – ACT is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that implements commitment and behavior-change strategies by combining acceptance and mindfulness strategies in several different ways. This should enhance the patient’s emotional and mental flexibility.
  • Supportive Programs – This includes groups such as support groups, group therapy, family therapy, etc.  The support these programs offer to those suffering with social anxiety disorder is invaluable.

Obtaining the help you desire for social anxiety disorder is not further away than reaching out for the support and resources you need. If you are seeking healing from a social anxiety disorder for yourself or your loved one, you are choosing to make changes that will create a positive impact in your life, even in the face of sufferings you may have endured.  While you have undoubtedly suffered much due to this mental disorder, you do not have to bear this burden alone.  You can get your life back on track and learn healthy ways to cope with stressful circumstances, all with the availability of help and resources for overcoming social anxiety disorder.  A social anxiety treatment center can be invaluable to helping you get started on the right track of recovery.  Consider taking the first step towards healing today and access the resources available on Addiction Hope to get started on your recovery journey.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 15th, 2013
Published on, Addiction Treatment Information