What is the treatment for
social anxiety disorder?

Social anxiety disorder, often raised as social phobia, is more than just feeling nervous. It’s a syndrome where social situations activate so much anxiety and worry that it makes it problematic to go about everyday tasks. The sapping worry of being observed or evaluated by others troubles people with social anxiety disorder. 

People who suffer from social anxiety disorder (SAD) may completely avoid social situations because they have a deep-seated fear of being made fun of, rejected, or criticized. This escaping may hurt their relationships, jobs, and overall well-being. Fortunately, there is social anxiety disorder treatment that can help people overwhelmed by these fears live more fulfilling lives.

How is Social Anxiety Disorder Diagnosed?

For a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder (SAD), a counselor or psychiatrist needs to perform an extensive evaluation. These trained professionals are typically psychologists, psychiatrists, or therapists. Even in the absence of an official test, physicians look to the criteria specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association.

The most common diagnostic criterion for social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a persistent, unembellished fear of occasions where one can be judged by others. The nervousness is always brought on by an intense sense of being ignored, embarrassed, or ashamed. Among other anxiety-inducing actions, SAD sufferers often worry that others will see their blushing or trembling and criticize them.


Psychotherapy for social anxiety, also known as talk therapy, can be a powerful tool for handling social anxiety disorder. There are different methods, but one of the most effective is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT assists you in recognizing and varying unfavorable thought patterns that fuel your worry. For instance, a person suffering from social anxiety may feel as though everyone is evaluating them constantly. CBT assists you in refuting these ideas and creating more practical and constructive thought patterns.

Exposure Therapy

This is a crucial CBT method for social anxiety. It entails working with your therapist to gradually face your social fears in a secure setting. Consider yourself a public speaking phobia. Originally, exposure treatment may comprise watching films of speeches made in public, followed by practicing a presentation in front of your psychoanalyst, and, finally, giving a short lecture to a small group.

Skill Training

Therapy can assist you in receiving useful skills for social interactions in addition to changing your beliefs. Developing your skills can entail things like making eye contact, striking up conversations, and expressing oneself confidently.

You and your therapist can benefit from role-playing activities as well. Through social skills practice in a secure atmosphere, you can gain comfort and confidence in real-life settings.


Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Antidepressant drugs in the SRI class are frequently used to treat anxiety disorders, predominantly social anxiety, and it may take a few weeks for SSRIs to fully take effect. By preventing its reabsorption, they raise serotonin levels in the brain. One neurotransmitter connected to mood modulation is serotonin


Venlafaxine (Effexor XR)

Venlafaxine is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). Similar to SSRIs, it increases serotonin and norepinephrine levels. It’s sometimes used for social anxiety, but it’s not the first choice.

Side effects: These may include nausea, dizziness, and changes in blood pressure.

Complementary Strategies

While traditional therapies like CBT are highly effective, there are balancing tactics that can work as a social phobia therapy. Here’s a glimpse into some alternative treatments:


This practice involves focusing on the present moment with no bias. By engaging in mindfulness exercises like meditation, you can learn to classify and maintain a sense of detachment from your anxious thoughts and emotions. This helps you develop a sense of acceptance and peace of mind, which reduces the overall influence of concern. 

Relaxation Techniques

Deep breathing, gradual muscle relaxation, and yoga are a few techniques that can help control how your nervous system reacts to situations that make you anxious. The unvarying practice of these strategies can give you the tools you need to control the physical symptoms of worry, such as breathlessness and a racing heart.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that while balancing therapies might be beneficial compliments to your self-care regimen, they shouldn’t take the place of expert advice. A treatment plan that is customized to meet your individual needs can be offered by a therapist who specializes in anxiety disorders.


Social contact in daily life can seem overwhelming to people with social anxiety disorder (SAD). People with SAD may have such a strong dread of being judged, criticized, or rejected that they completely shun social interactions. This could have a serious effect on their well-being generally, at work, and in relationships.

It’s extremely treatable to treat SAD, which is good news. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in particular is a potent tool that helps patients with SAD confront their worries in a safe setting and overcome negative thought patterns. Moreover, medication might be useful in symptom management. 

You don’t have to face social anxiety alone. Seeking expert assistance is a sign of strength rather than weakness. A therapist may design specialized treatment options for social anxiety to meet your unique needs and provide you with the tools and resources to get over your fears.

At David Bresch, M.D., we understand the problems that social anxiety disorder (SAD) can cause. We can provide comprehensive assessments and develop customized treatment plans to help you manage your fears and anxieties. We offer evidence-based therapies, and medication management, and can incorporate mindfulness techniques to empower you in social situations. 

If you're struggling with social anxiety, don't hesitate to contact David Bresch MD today !


The material regarding medications for social anxiety disorder (SAD) is provided solely for educational purposes and is not meant to take the place of advice from a medical expert. Consult a healthcare provider before starting or changing any medication.