Therapy For Social Anxiety: Case Examples
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Avoid Coping Strategies Like Alcohol Or Marijuana
Coping with your social anxiety is a bad idea generally.
Specifically, there are two major problems with the coping strategy approach:
So, whether its impulsive deep breathing exercises, going to your happy place, or taking shots of vodka, the whole attitude of coping with your social anxiety is self-defeating in the end.
But more specifically, two of the most common coping mechanisms people use to manage their social anxiety are alcohol and marijuana.
If you really want to overcome social anxiety in the long-run, its not about never feeling anxious its about building up your confidence to do important things despite feeling anxious.
And youre never going to build confidence if youre always relying on booze and drugs as crutches.
Be Accountable To Someone
You may stay in your rut forever if nobody knows you are trying to move past your social anxiety and you are not accountable to anyone. Choose someone you trust , and tell them about your plans to make changes in your life.
This works very much like having an exercise partner the other person keeps you honest and keeps you from giving up when the road seems to hard and long.
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Take The Focus Off Yourself
Try shifting your attention to whatâs happening around you instead of whatâs inside your head. You can do this by really listening to the conversation thatâs happening or reminding yourself that other people probably canât tell how anxious you are just by looking at you. People appreciate when others act genuine and interested, so focus on being present and a good listener.
What Are You Avoiding
The behavioral problem for people with social anxiety is the tendency to avoid anxiety-provoking situations. When a socially anxious individual anticipates going to a party, she becomes quite anxiousbut, then, decides not to go and the anxiety immediately decreases. This reduction of anxiety with the decision to avoid the party reinforces avoidance . This simple reward for avoidance maintains the fear of negative social evaluation even when the person does not experience humiliation. For example, if I feel anxious thinking about approaching someone and then I decide to avoid talking with them, my anxiety immediately drops. This immediate decrease in anxiety teaches me, In order to feel less anxious, avoid interacting with strangers.
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Start Staying Hi To A Neighbor
Do you scurry for your door every time your neighbor appears? Next time, try to make a concerted effort to say hello, wave, and be friendly. Although this might feel out of character and anxiety-provoking at first, over time this new habit will become second nature.
If you are feeling really bold, try a behavioral experiment: Invite your neighbor over for coffee at a time when she is clearly busy. Seek out rejection and learn that it is not so bad! At some point down the road, you might even find you have made a friend out of a neighbor.
Medication For Social Anxiety
However, medication is shown to be less effective than therapy for social anxiety. This may be the case especially when medication is taken alone.
Medication for social anxiety may take 2 to 6 weeks to have an effect. Beta blockers may be used to treat temporary physical symptoms of anxiety.
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Take An Incremental Approach To Overcoming Social Anxiety
Keep in mind that working through a significant social anxiety habit is going to take time.
There are no quick fixes or silver bullets, tempting as that possibility is.
Unfortunately, many people start strong in their journey to overcome social anxiety only to have a setback or two, get discouraged, and then give up.
There are a couple reasons why this happens:
The solution to both of these issues, I think, is to foster an incremental attitude and approach to overcoming your social anxiety.
For example, after reading this guide, homely there are at least a handful of good ideas and strategies you want to implement in order to overcome your social anxiety.
Dont try to do them all at once!
Instead, pick one and focus on that until you start to see some progress and it feels more automatic for you. Only then move on to implementing another.
Proven Ways To Cure Social Anxiety
For as long as I can remember, I have been scared.
Growing up, I didnt know what the words social anxiety disorder meant. It wasnt until many years later Id find out I had it.
- It was why I couldnt make or hold eye contact with most people.
- It was why I felt constantly tense and worn out if I wasnt alone by myself.
- It was why my voice was so quiet, shaky and insecure.
- It was what made me so nervous, awkward and withdrawn around people.
- To the point that I couldnt even hold a regular conversation or have friends like a normal person.
Social anxiety stole over 20 years of my life away.
Years of nervous sweat dripping down my armpits every time I spoke up in class. Years of weirdly avoiding people every day and staying in every weekend night. Not because I wanted to, but because I was afraid. Years of believing that I would never get a girlfriend and spend my life alone and unwanted.
This page is written for people who want to cure their severe social anxiety, like I did.
If you feel bitter and even angry sometimes when you see how most people in the world are born knowing how to easily socialize, make friends and get a relationship
If you feel like the best years of your life are slipping through your fingers day by day, year by year
Then I feel for you. I really do.
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Stay Connected To Others
Tell your family and friends what you are experiencing. Help them to understand that telling you to just relax or ignore your fears wont help. Tell them that what you need instead is their support and encouragement for you to slowly understand and face your anxiety, one small step at a time. They can also help by coming to social situations with you so you dont need to manage on your own.
You Really Need To Pull Yourself Together
A colleague said this to me when she found me crying in the staff toilets at an event. She thought the tough love approach would help me snap out of it. However, not only did it not help, it made me feel more embarrassed and exposed. It confirmed that I was a freak and therefore needed to hide my condition.
When faced with anxiety, the natural response from observers seems to be to encourage the person to calm down. Ironically, this only makes it worse. The sufferer is desperate to calm down, but is unable to do so.
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How To Reduce Negative Thoughts
Avoiding Social Gatherings Events Or Specific People
If youre trying to overcome social anxiety, its important to remember that its not all in your head. And I mean that literally: While worry places a central role in social anxiety, your behavior is equally important. Specifically, the tendency to avoid potentially scary social situations.
For example, many people with social anxiety get especially nervous and uncomfortable around new people. As a result, they frequently turn down to social gatherings theyve been invited to that involve unknown guests.
There are two problems with this habit of avoidance:
Even though social anxiety can feel like a very heady experienceworries, anxiety, nervousness, etcits crucial to learn to see that it has a strong behavioral component as well. How you choose to act is every bit as important in social anxiety as how you think and feel.
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How Well Is Social Anxiety Disorder Recognised
Recognition of social anxiety disorder in adults, children and young people by general practitioners is often poor. The problem of under-recognition for anxiety disorders in general has recently been highlighted by evidence that the prevalence of PTSD is significantly under-recognised in primary care . In part this may stem from GPs not identifying the disorder, a general lack of understanding about its severity and complexity, and a lack of clearly defined care pathways. But it may also stem from service users’ lack of knowledge of its existence, their avoidance of talking about the problem and stigma.
The early age of onset and effects on educational achievement mean that recognition of social anxiety disorders in educational settings is also an issue. As well as underachieving, children with social anxiety disorder may be particularly likely to be the targets of bullying and teasing. Teachers and other educational professionals may have limited knowledge of how to recognise and oversee the management of the condition.
In primary care many service users report being misdiagnosed as having pure major depression. Missing the diagnosis may also occur in secondary care if an adequate history has not been taken. This is a serious omission because having a comorbidity has treatment and outcome implications.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
If at all possible, try to spend more time with positive people people who love you, believe in you, and see the beauty in who you are despite your social anxiety.
Spending time with these people will make you feel good and help you to weather any rough times as you try to make changes in your life.
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Practice Acts Of Kindness
In a 2015 study of 115 college students living with social anxiety, performing small acts of kindness for 4 weeks helped reduce the desire to avoid social situations.
The link between kindness and social anxiety may not be immediately clear, but it makes sense, when you think about it.
Social anxiety generally involves some fear of rejection or disapproval. But if youve just done something kind and thoughtful, like bringing a sick co-worker their favorite soup or offering to pick up your neighbors grocery order, the person you help is far more likely to have positive feelings toward you than negative ones.
Earning this approval on a regular basis can help decrease your fears around social situations, so you might find that interacting with others gradually becomes easier.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Social Anxiety
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is considered to be one of the leading psychological treatments for social anxiety. All of our online courses use CBT strategies to help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Click below to see if CBT can help you tackle your symptoms to improve the way you feel.
Strategies for Managing Symptoms of Social Anxiety
People with social anxiety disorder tend to overestimate the likelihood of being judged by other people and underestimate their own worth. Theyre often self-critical, can fixate on their own flaws, and constantly compare themselves to other people. They can also be hyperaware of and embarrassed by the physical symptoms of anxiety, like blushing, sweating, or trembling.
Cognitive strategies help people identify and challenge these kinds of thoughts, and learn new, more helpful ways of thinking. In doing so, these strategies help can people become more confident and self-compassionate.
Two key features of social anxiety are avoidance and safety behaviours. Avoidance is when you miss out on fun or important experiences because of anxiety, for example, skipping a friends birthday party or an important presentation at work because youre afraid of being judged. Safety behaviours are things you do that help you cope with anxiety, like having a few drinks before you get to a party.
Coping With Symptoms of Social Anxiety
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