Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment – What's the Most Effective Approach?


If you suffer from, panic attacks, excessive self-consciousness, obsessive thoughts, an inability to relax and let go of worries, a crippling phobia, then you may have what is called a Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) … also known as Social Phobia.

The good news is YOU do not have to live with anxiety and fear for the rest of your life. There are many effective treatments that can help you increase your disorder … and for many anxiety problems, therapy is a good starting point.

Therapy For Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Amongst all available treatments, research has shown Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Therapy to work the best for Social Anxiety Disorder treatment. That's because therapy, unlike anxiety medication – does not just relieve the symptoms of anxiety, it uncovers the root cause of your fears and worries – you get to learn how to relax, it teaches you situations in new, less frightening ways, and as you go along … you develop better copying and problem-solving skills. CBT and Exposure Therapy gives you the tools you need for Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment and teachers you how to use them.

* Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is widely used for Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment. It is also very effective in the treatment of panic disorders, phobias, and generalized anxiety disorders. It tackles negative thought patterns and distortions in the way we see ourselves and the world around us. It involves two main components:

1. Cognitive Therapy – looks at how negative thoughts add to your anxieties.

2. Behavioral Therapy – looks at your behaviors and reactions in situations that trigger anxiety.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the promise that our thoughts affect the way we feel or behave. In other words, it's not the situation you're in that determines how you feel or behave, but your perception of the situation. People who suffer from social anxiety disorder have negative thoughts that fuel negative emotions of anxiety and fear. CBT aims to identify and correct these negative thinking patterns. Since our thoughts, emotions, and actions are interdependent … if you change the way you think, your feelings and behaviors will change as well.

Challenging Negative Thoughts

The process of challenging negative thinking patterns in cognitive behavioral therapy three steps:

1. Identifying negative thoughts – one strategy of identifying negative thoughts is to think of the emotions or behaviors that come up when you're in situations that trigger your anxiety. Situations like: meeting new people, eating in public, making small talk, and so on. Then, take anyone of these unwanted emotions or behaviors and trace it back to it's under assumption by asking yourself: "why am I feeling or acting this way?", And try to expose the idea that is really responsible.

For example, if meeting new people makes you feel uneasy, the idea responsible for this emotion could be: "I will not have anything to say. I'll seem boring."

2. Challenging negative thought patterns – with this step, you get to assess your anxiety-provoking thoughts. This includes questioning the rationality of your thoughts, scrutinizing limiting beliefs, and putting your negative predictions to the test. This is done by conducting experiments, weighing the pros and cons of worry, and determining the realistic chances that what you fear will actually happen.

3.Replacing negative thoughts – once you're done identifying and challenging your negative thoughts, you get to replace them with thinking patterns that are more balanced, empowering, and positive. Also, at this stage … you are exposed to affirmations or positive self-talk that help keep you calm when facing situations that would normally freak you out.

* Exposure Therapy For Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment

AS the name follows, this form of therapy exposes you to the situations you fear and avoid. The reason being that, through repeated exposures, your fear of these situations will diminish and you'll begin to feel an increasing sense of control. Exposure for "social anxiety disorder treatment" is done in two different ways: a) you imagine the scary situation, or b) you confront your fears in real life. Exposure therapy can be used alone, or it can be used with cognitive behavioral therapy.

Systematic Desensitization

Rather than taking on your biggest fears first – which could backfire and leave you traumatized, exposure therapy starts with a situation you can handle (one that's mildly threatening) and builds up from there. This step-by-step approach is called Systematic Desensitization.

Systematic desensitization shows you how to gradually face you fears, build up your confidence, and improve your skills for controlling panic. It involves three parts:

1. Relaxations skills – people who suffer from social anxiety disorder experience physical symptoms like: shaking, accelerated heart rate, dizziness, a feeling of suffocation and muscle tension. For this reason, learning a relaxation technique, such as progressive muscle relaxation, or deep breathing is very important. Once you start facing your fears, you will use this relaxation technique to reduce or control these physical reactions.

2.Creating a step-by-step list – here, you make a list of some situations that you fear and turn them into goals. Then, you'll take each goal and break it down into smaller tasks … starting with the least anxiety-provoking situation and then build up in intensity until you reach your goal. Each step should be as specific as possible, with a clear, measurable objective.

For example, if you feel anxious about social gatherings and your avoidance of that situation is interfering with your ability to enjoy the company of friends, then you could set a goal like: "go to a pub or a party on a weekend evening, ( with some friends) and stay there for at least 3 hours. " The next thing you do is break it into smaller tasks. The first step could be something like: "go to the pub with someone I'm comfortable with, buy a drink and stay there for 10 minutes." Then build up from there – with each task more challenging than the one before it … until you reach your main goal.

3.Completing each step – with each step you take, try as much as you can to stay in the situation until your fears subside … and they do. This way, you will come to see that, as frightening as the feelings are, they will not hurt you. And if the anxiety gets too intense, make use of the relaxation technique you learned. Once you¡¯re relaxed again, you can turn your attention back to the situation. This way you can complete each step without feeling overly distracted.