Being nervous and anxious is not abnormal. Everyone could have problems with public speech, presentation or going on a date, but these feelings do not qualify a person as suffering from any disorder.
However, some people may experience extreme fear when faced with any kind of interactions with people. Sometimes, their problem is so big, that they can’t write a check in public or eat with their friends somewhere. These people can’t even imagine how it looks like to be surrounded by strangers at the party and they are frightened of these situations. Patients fearing similar situations and social interactions are usually diagnosed to suffer from social anxiety disorder.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, positive coping skills and prescription medications have proven to be the most efficient treatment for most people suffering from social anxiety disorder. Combination of these methods had been shown to successfully affect patients’ disorder and ease their problem.
Social anxiety disorder is something most people have to deal with for their lifetime, but the treatments can be helpful in managing the symptoms and relaxing the patient enough to be able to interact with people.
Cognitive behavioral therapy positively affects about 75% of all patients treated for social anxiety disorder. It teaches the patients how to recognize and change negative thoughts and modify their own response to troublesome situations. This treatment may also involve exposure therapy and role playing, which face the patient with their fears gradually and thus improve their coping skills in particular situations.
Medications Used for Social Anxiety Disorder
This disorder can be treated with several types of drugs, but the most common treatment involves the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. The doctor may prescribe Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, others), Fluvoxamine (Luvox, Luvox CR), Paroxetine (Paxil, Paxil CR) or Sertraline (Zoloft), since these medications are proven to efficiently work against social anxiety disorder symptoms. These drugs are also considered to be the safest medical option for these patients.
People suffering from this disorder may also get other prescription drugs, such as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) medication - venlafaxine (also known as Effexor, Effexor XR).
The treatment usually starts at low doses which are increased over a period of time to full dose. It could take several months of treatment to see significant improvement of the symptoms due to the use of these medications.
Additionally, doctors may decide to prescribe some different anti-depressant medications, beta blockers or anti-anxiety drugs.