Do you find yourself not going out anywhere for fear of being around other people and not knowing what to say to them? Do you avoid certain situations for fear it might put you in front of someone else you would feel awkward or even worse? Is the only time you can feel relaxed when you’re by yourself? If any of these are true, you may be suffering from social anxiety.
Can Social Anxiety Be Cured?
The good news is social anxiety is an affliction that is very treatable. Although the word ‘cure’ is too strong a word for the result of treating social anxiety, it can nevertheless become manageable and not dominate your life like it may have up to this point. With the right treatment you can have a good social life and function as any other person in society typically would. It’s not a matter of taking the right medication, although medication can be part of a good initial treatment. It’s more about finding the right coping skills and lifestyle changes that can help you improve your level of social functioning that it isn’t the crippling problem it once was.
A Lot of People Struggle with Social Anxiety
Many, many people in our highly populated cities and countries suffer silently with social anxiety. It’s just that since one of the symptoms of social anxiety is relative isolation, you don’t see them wandering about. They are out there, but they are basically isolated when they don’t have to be around other people. Many have jobs and careers that involve little social interaction so they don’t run the risk of getting triggered by seeing or being exposed to other live individuals. Jobs and careers that involve computers can give people with social anxiety and ‘out’ from having face to face interactions and provide them with a temporary reprieve from actual human involvement, too. A survey by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America in the last 10 years found 15 million people in the US who suffer from the disorder.
How You Can Overcome Social Anxiety Disorder
There is no one single way to overcome social anxiety, but almost without exception they involve some form of individual and/or group therapy. One effective treatment for social anxiety is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which helps get at issues in your past that have contributed to your fear of being around other people (either individually or in groups). It also helps you be more able to relax in social situations and not be so triggered by others. One of the problems people with social anxiety have is not feeling ‘safe’ out in public. EMDR helps you feel safe enough to venture out and brave the social situations you once feared. It helps to calm your nervous system by way of built in resources and helps you overcome resistance to going out in public in the first place. It also gives you a way to integrate successful experiences into your life so you have more momentum to keep venturing out and making the social connections every person needs to live a fulfilling life. There are also nutritional supplements that can help decrease your base level of anxiety so you aren’t nervous and afraid of other people like you might be. Vigorous exercise can also help to decrease your baseline level of anxiety and be more able to confront your fears instead of giving into them.
What I Can Do to Help You Overcome Social Anxiety
As a therapist certified in using EMDR, as well as by helping you become familiar with other ways to cope with anxiety in general, I have a particular skill in helping people overcome social anxiety. I have struggled with anxiety in my past myself as well and can assure you it is very treatable. I have worked with many anxious individuals and can tell you from experience that everyone can do something to improve their situations, regardless of how small this is. With my help, you have an important ally in your fight to have a more fulfilling life and better connection with the people you need around you attain your lifelong goals and dreams.
I encourage you to call or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and find out how I can help you. I offer free 15-minute phone consultations so you can find out if you might be able to work with me. You can also go to my contact page to get in touch with me. Whatever you do, please do get help and discover as so many others have that other people are the answer and not part of the problem.
About the author: Scott Kampschaefer, LCSW is a private practice therapist in Austin, Texas. He has an extensive background in working with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder at a clinic for older adults with these disorders in Austin. He now works with adults and adolescents of all ages in private practice.