What helps people with social phobia?
Social phobia is an ongoing disorder that usually needs to be treated with medical care. It's not just shyness and usually does not go away on its own. Your family doctor can help you find ways to control your fears.
Cognitive behavioral therapy helps people think about social situations differently so they don't fear them. The therapy also involves learning how to reduce anxiety, as well as improving social and conversational skills.
Medicines called antidepressants and benzodiazepines can also help some people with social phobia. People who have a certain form of social phobia, called "performance anxiety," can take medicines called beta-blockers just before they perform to ease their anxiety.
Sometimes a combination of therapy and medicine works the best. Your doctor will know how to help treat your case of social phobia.
Social Anxiety Disorder: A Common, Underrecognized Mental Disorder by TJ Bruce, Ph.D. and SA Saeed, M.D. (American Family Physician November 15, 1999, http://www.aafp.org/afp/991115ap/2311.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff