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The therapist will help you to test these ideas out in your day to day life. You can then start to focus on how other people are actually reacting to you, rather than your imaginary version of how they are. This sort of treatment is usually given by one therapist for each client. If the problem is very severe, or if you are unable to get out of the house, it can be given as an in-patient or as a day patient in hospital. The newer antidepressants SSRIs - Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors have been found to be helpful in social phobia, but may sometimes cause headaches and dizziness in the first few weeks.

They usually start to work within 6 weeks, but can take up to 12 weeks to have their full effect. If the symptoms of social phobia get better, the dose can be slowly reduced over several months. These have drawbacks. They tend to lower the blood pressure which can make you feel faint. Some cough medicines that can be bought at the chemist also produce similar reactions to these foods.

These don't seem to produce the above reactions, and so people taking them can eat what they like. Other types of antidepressants don't seem to work very well in social phobia. These drugs are usually used to treat high blood pressure. In a low dose, they control the physical shaking of anxiety - which can be a symptom of social phobia - and can be taken shortly before meeting people or before speaking in public. Drugs like Valium were used in the past to treat all sorts of anxiety. We now know that they are addictive and that they do not help in the long run.

They should usually not be used to treat a social phobia. This site uses cookies: Find out more Okay, thanks. Home Mental health Problems and disorders Shyness and social phobia. Print this page Share this page facebook twitter linkedin. It may also be helpful for friends or family who want to be able to understand and help.

Disclaimer This webpage provides information, not advice. What is a social phobia? Shyness is a common sort of mild fear — if it's mild, it doesn't really spoil life. A fear becomes a phobia when it stops us from enjoying things or doing them easily. If you have a social phobia, you get very anxious when you are with other people, usually because you worry that: they may be critical of you; you may do something embarrassing.

There are two main sorts of social phobia. At its worst, it can make it impossible for to speak in public at all, even to ask a question. What does social phobia feel like? The feelings of anxiety are similar for both types of social phobia. You find yourself: worrying a lot about making a fool of yourself in front of other people feeling very anxious before going into any of the social situations that worry you going through, in great detail, all the embarrassing things that could happen to you unable to say, or do, the things you want to after an event, worrying about how you handled the situation.

Living with Social Anxiety - my story & advice

When you experience a panic attack. With either sort of social phobia, these feelings can end in a panic attack. Does social phobia affect the way you think about yourself? How can social phobia affect you? Many sufferers cope by arranging their lives around their symptoms. This means that they and their families have to miss out on things they might otherwise enjoy.

How common is social phobia? About five in a hundred people have some degree of social phobia, with women two or three times more likely to be affected. What causes social phobia? We really don't know. It seems to affect people who: have particularly high standards for their behaviour in public; who have stammered as a child. What keeps it going? They include: drinking alcohol avoiding eye contact not saying anything personal about yourself asking too many questions of the other person. Treatments for social phobia.

When fear of how you appear gets in the way of functioning

Self-help If you are naturally shy, you may find it helpful to join a local self-confidence or assertiveness course. Write down the automatic thoughts you have about yourself and the pictures of yourself these conjure up in your mind. Once you have done this, it can be easier to start changing them. Try listening more to what other people are saying, rather than what you are saying to yourself in your mind. Break down a worrying situation into a number of steps, right from the beginning. Then take the first step and learn to feel relaxed while doing it — it may take some practice.

Then move on to the next step, and then the next.

This can help if:

Psychological treatments Social skills training This can help you to feel more relaxed and confident in company. Graded self-exposure We know that, even if you are very frightened in a particular situation, your anxiety will start to go away after a while.

This treatment helps you to change the way that you think about yourself and other people. Beta-blockers These drugs are usually used to treat high blood pressure.


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Tranquillisers Drugs like Valium were used in the past to treat all sorts of anxiety. How effective are treatments? This may be a good choice if your anxiety about social situations is troublesome, but doesn't stop you from doing too many things Self-help with group meetings seems to work better, but is relatively new. Graded self-exposure seems to work for about half the people who finish the course - but quite a few people don't complete it.

Further help. Anxiety UK works to relieve and support those living with anxiety disorders by providing information, support and understanding via an extensive range of services, including therapy. Self-help groups, information, and awareness raising for depression. Performance Situations These are situations where people feel they are being observed by others. Examples include: Public speaking e.

What is Social Anxiety?

Examples include: Meeting new people Talking to co-workers or friends Inviting others to do things Going to social events e. When faced with a feared social situation, people with social anxiety experience some of the following: Negative thoughts what you think People with social anxiety tend to have negative thoughts about themselves e. Examples: racing heart, upset stomach, shaking, choking sensations, sweating, blushing, trembling, dry mouth, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, urge to urinate, etc. Avoidance and safety behaviors what you do People with social anxiety will often try to avoid or escape social situations.

If they do go into social situations, they tend to do things to feel less anxious or to protect themselves from embarrassment or negative evaluation e. Examples: Avoiding e. Read more about this story. Share Share. Tags Social Anxiety Disorder. Racing heart Stomachache Nausea or diarrhea.

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