Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment: Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness

Social anxiety disorder is also known as social phobia. It is the most common type of anxiety disorder. Social phobia probably describes the condition better because it is the fear of social situations. Of course, social anxiety disorder or social phobia would be the more serious terms for a condition simply known as shyness when it is in a milder form.

There are many degrees of social anxiety and different people's fears are set-off in different situations. Some who suffer social phobia may be most uncomfortable simply being around several other people because they feel that everybody else is watching them.

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Another type of social anxiety disorder is ignited when the sufferer tries to use a public bathroom. This is a common form of social anxiety and it is commonly referred to as shy or bashful bladder. The medical term for this is Paruresis.

Other types of social phobias, to name a few are the fear of:

· Eating in front of others
· Working or playing in front of others
· Dating
· Going to parties
· Asking questions in school or seminars

Sometimes self help is a viable option which can be used to overcome the condition. Other times a doctor will prescribe medication to treat social anxiety. Anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants and beta blockers are amongst the popular choices of medications used to treat the condition.

Social anxiety disorder is also treated using a technique known as cognitive-behavioral therapy. With this method of treatment, the patient is gradually introduced to the situations he normally tries to avoid. He is taught how to replace the negative thoughts that usually are associated with this type of situation with positive or pleasant thoughts.

Relaxation techniques are used along with deep breathing. Relaxation should be practiced when the patient is in a comfortable setting. He should become aware of the feeling he has when in a relaxed state and then be able to imagine this feeling when he is being led into a situation that would normally bring about his anxiety.

This technique is reminiscent of how agoraphobia is treated. Agoraphobia is fear of leaving home. The agoraphobia patient is helped to leave the home by traveling away from it literally one step further each day. In the meantime, the patient practices relaxation and relaxation breathing techniques.

The key to cognitive behavioral therapy is to not to be too forceful and to set an agenda that is so slow paced the patient, at least on some days, will almost beg to do more of what he used to fear.

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A cure for anxiety attack can be very difficult if you don't appreciate the part that your 'fear' of one plays in the anxiety attack process. You might not even think that you have this fear. But if you have had an anxiety attack or multiple attacks you are (even subconsciously) fearful of having another.

However, this very fear of another anxiety attack could be the very thing that will cause you to have one. That's right: your fearful attitude (even in your subconscious) can actually trigger another attack. So the key to a cure is to banish the fear of another anxiety attack in order to prevent further attacks.

General Anxiety

Before we talk about a cure for an anxiety attacks, let's discuss general anxiety. General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a condition in which the sufferer is more or less constantly worrying and obsessing about issues or events that don't merit these unusually high levels of anxiety. And that this begins to interfere with normal everyday life. A sufferer is normally diagnosed with GAD if they have displayed the symptoms of anxiety for at least 6 months.

But that's not to say that someone who is going through a prolonged 'rough patch' way less than 6 months, but with ongoing high anxiety levels, can't also have an anxiety attack.

Symptoms of Anxiety

Some of the symptoms of anxiety are; sleeping problems, irritability, feeling worried all the time, poor attention span, restlessness, continual tiredness, stomach problems, rapid heartbeat, shaking, tremors, urinating more often, diarrhea, etc. Oftentimes, the diagnosis of anxiety is only made after an anxiety attack because the victim had thought they were having a heart attack and emergency services had been called, and / or a doctor consulted.

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Anxiety Attacks

An anxiety attack occurs when someone with ongoing anxiety is faced with a stressful event or situation that rapidly raises their already high anxiety levels. Situations like a bereavement, job loss, relationship break-up, being trapped in a lift, being in a large crowd, etc. This triggers the release of way too much adrenalin in the body and the result is an anxiety attack.

Symptoms of Anxiety Attacks

Some of the most common symptoms of an attack are; shortness of breath, palpitations, heart racing, chest tightness, tingling fingers and / or toes, dizziness or lightheadedness, nausea, detached feeling, feeling of some unknown doom.

Treatment For Anxiety and Anxiety Attacks

Anxiety and anxiety attacks can be treated with prescription drugs such as minor tranquilizers, anti-depressants or beta blockers. But these have side effects that can be unpleasant, very unpleasant, and downright dangerous, such as dependency. There are also therapies such as psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and counselling; and self-help therapies like yoga, meditation, aerobics, self-hypnosis, etc.

In the main these treatments really either treat the symptoms of anxiety and anxiety attacks or help you to manage the condition.

Banish the Fear to Cure an Anxiety Attack

The missing piece of the jigsaw is how to get rid of the fear of another attack in order to arrive at a cure. If you don't get rid of this fear, it can be very difficult to cure the underlying anxiety, because your fear of having another attack is adding to your overall general anxiety levels.

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Dealing with panic attacks successfully is never easy, but there are a handful of tricks you can use to make your chances of success much more likely.

One of the best things you can do is to adopt 2 new mindsets.

A mindset is simply a way you see things - a way you think about something in particular.

And there are 2 mindsets that, if you can grasp them, and start living by them, can help you to completely overcome your problems with panic and anxiety.

2 Mindsets For Dealing With Panic Attacks

Mindset 1: Anxiety-Fear Isn't real

You know that fear you feel all day every day that's caused by your anxiety? That fear isn't real.

Real fear is a defence mechanism that's evolved in us for thousands of years. It's there to make us act when we spot danger.

Real fear only lasts a fraction of a second - just long enough to make us act, to make us run or fight.

Fear that lasts any longer than a fraction of a second isn't real.

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Mindset 2: You're Addicted To Your Anxiety

When you live with severe panic and anxiety for years, you get hooked on it. It's a part of everything you do. It becomes a part of everything you are.

It gets to the point where you can't imagine your life without it. It gets to the point where imagining your life without it produces withdrawal symptoms similar to those associated with drugs.

When this happens, any progress you make in eliminating some of your anxiety will cause you to both consciously and subconsciously sabotage your progress, even if that idea seems crazy to you.

These 2 mindsets are hard to get your head around at first, but if you take the time to consider them over the next few days, especially during times of high anxiety, you'll see how powerful it is to be aware of them.

And shortly afterwards there will come a time when dealing with panic attacks becomes simple.

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The causes of anxiety attacks are usually situations or events that can be particularly stressful or emotional. Generally speaking, folks who suffer anxiety attacks are usually also suffering from anxiety in their lives. Almost on a daily basis, they are worried and anxious about anything and everything. So that their anxiety levels are much higher than normal, even in today's fast moving world.

Slap a strong emotional event on top of that and the sufferer's anxiety levels rocket even higher. The result is an anxiety attack. Here we'll look at the causes of anxiety attacks and why some people are more prone to them than others.

Causes of Anxiety Attacks

The causes or 'triggers' for anxiety attacks are things such as;

traffic jams
job interview
job loss
money problems
failed relationship
moving house
crowded supermarkets
stuck in an elevator

But these are things that most people encounter at some point in their lives without having anxiety attacks; they are able to handle and overcome these emotional and stressful situations. Why? Since anxiety attacks usually occur in folks with already highly elevated anxiety levels, we need to ask the question, why do these people suffer anxiety disorders and others don't? Let's look at the causes of anxiety to help us...

Causes of Anxiety Disorders

Frankly, no one is certain about the causes of anxiety, but there are several theories that have been put forward. Some of these are;

Brain chemistry - chemical imbalances in the brain

Genetics - people whose parent(s) had anxiety and anxiety attacks are more likely to suffer too.

Childhood upbringing - learned behaviour, traumatic experiences, etc.

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Personality characteristics - excessive shyness, politeness and deference, low-self esteem, passiveness, etc.

Another way at looking at these theories on the causes of anxiety, could be as theories on why some people are more prone to anxiety disorders than others.

How to Cure Anxiety Attacks

Generally, mainstream treatment consists of prescribed drugs such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicines, 'talking' therapies such psychotherapy and counselling, and self-help therapies like meditation and yoga. Sometimes they are used in combination. But the drugs only control the symptoms of anxiety, whilst the therapies teach you how to manage the disorder. In addition the drugs can have pretty bad side effects.

Remember that certain emotional 'triggers' on top of anxiety cause attacks? One trigger not mentioned above, is the fear of having another attack. The actual fear can cause an anxiety attack to occur. When this happens your anxiety levels increase even more.

And then you agonize about another attack, you have another attack, your anxiety is reinforced, and so on. You are in an anxiety cycle fueled by this fear. You need to get rid of the fear of other attacks in order to break the anxiety cycle. In this way you can prevent more anxiety (panic) attacks and so focus totally on curing your underlying anxiety.

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