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Is It Possible to Overcome Social Phobia?

Article Details
  • Written By: Steven Symes
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 21 April 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Those who suffer from a social phobia can try overcome social phobia through one of a variety of treatment methods. How successful various treatments for social phobia are depends on the level of severity of the phobia for the individual. Doctors might put a person suffering from a social phobia on drugs to help lessen the anxiety surrounding social situations. The patient might also engage in behavior-modifying therapies, such as support groups for people who suffer from social phobia.

Using prescription medications under the guidance of a doctor can help a person overcome social phobia. For persistent social phobia, a doctor may prescribe a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, or SSRI, such as Zoloft® or Paxil®. Doctors generally start a patient off with a lower dose of medication, slowly increasing the amount over several months to avoid any undesirable side effects from the medication. Because of the necessity to ease a patient into the medication, the social phobia’s symptoms might not improve for several months. A doctor can also prescribe antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication or a beta blocker, which blocks the effects of adrenaline released into the body.

Patients who suffer from social phobia may also undergo psychological counseling to overcome social phobia, either alone or in combination with taking prescription medications. A patient can engage in group therapy with others who suffer from social phobia, with the aim of the engaging in a constructive social situation. A therapist might also engage the patient in cognitive behavioral therapy, helping the patient to recognize and modify thought patterns leading to social anxiety. Desensitization therapy exposes a patient to real social situations in degrees, eventually helping the person to engage in a large social situation without feeling anxiety.

Lifestyle modification might also help a patient overcome social phobia. Patients are counseled about eating regular and balanced meals, as well as exercising sufficiently to help them overcome their anxiety. Avoiding the use of stimulants, such as caffeine, also helps those who suffer from social phobia remain calm and function normally.

The success of treatment methods depends greatly on the extent of a person’s social phobia. Alcohol or drug abuse provides an obstacle to overcome social phobia, since some people rely on alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with social situations. If a patient does not have opportunities for regular social interaction, such as a work situation that puts him in isolation, overcoming the phobia becomes a greater challenge.

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