For a condition like social anxiety disorder, characterized by a reluctance to speak with strangers, treatment can be hard to come by. Untreated social phobia can coerce a person to avoid all social contact. They may also suffer from low self-esteem, depression or even have suicidal thoughts.
In such cases, it is important to get in touch with a mental health professional.
Understanding Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
Social anxiety is a common problem that many people have to face in their lifetime. It may be stage-fear or simply talking in a large group. This is not a diagnosis but only a symptom that many people struggle with and may overcome.
In contrast, social phobia, another name for social anxiety disorder, is a diagnosis for those who suffer from high social anxiety. These individuals find themselves significantly stressed in even the simplest social situations.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD): Treatment and Management
In some cases, a doctor can prescribe antidepressants for treating SAD, which (generally) are either Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) like Zoloft and Prozac or Selective Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs), such as Effexor.
However, it is important to note that drugs alone will not be able to fix SAD. These medicines take time to produce an effect (at least between 2-6 weeks) and weaning them off is a challenge for most people. Besides, symptoms like shivering, dizziness, and flushing tend to return in some cases.
While medications used to be the most common treatment regimen for those suffering from social phobia, the incidence of dependence and drug abuse has given rise to a more effective way. The combination of talk therapy and medicine is considered to be the preferred treatment option.
However, back in 2016, a team of Norwegian and British scientists concluded that cognitive therapy on its own, without the use of drugs, was a more successful treatment for social phobia in the long run.
Patients often are not able to manage their anxiety on their own due to their dependence on drugs. Cognitive therapy aims to provide effective techniques to manage anxiety and build confidence. It usually lasts between 12 and 16 sessions.
Cannabidiol is a chemical found in marijuana and hemp plants. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it does not create a “high” associated with cannabis. Some early researchers concluded that CBD oil can help reduce anxiety.
According to a 2011 study, participants with SAD, when given cannabidiol, experienced an overall reduction in their anxiety. While the exact mechanism of CBD’s effect is still unknown, the results seem promising. Its legalization is another matter that keeps doctors from considering it as a mainstream treatment alternative.
Untreated social anxiety disorder can cripple a person’s personal life. It can be reduced to a great extent with proper management. The treatment options mentioned above are simply a rough path, which most patients follow in order to resume a normalized version of everyday life. However, it is important to first discuss your condition with a mental health professional.