What is the treatment for social phobia?

People who suffer from social phobia often find relief from their symptoms when treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy, or medications, or a combination of the two.

There is help for people with social phobia. The first step is to go to a doctor or health clinic to talk about symptoms. People who think they have social phobia may want to bring this booklet to the doctor to help them talk about the symptoms in it. The doctor will do an exam to make sure that another physical problem isn't causing the symptoms. The doctor may make a referral to a mental health specialist.

Doctors may prescribe medication to help relieve social phobia. It's important to know that some of these medicines may take a few weeks to start working. In most states only a medical doctor prescribes medications.

The kinds of medicines used to treat social phobia are listed below. Some of these medicines are used to treat other problems, such as depression, but also are helpful for social phobia:

Antidepressants, Anti-anxiety medicines, and Beta blockers



This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Mental Health.

In the treatment of social phobia, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are usually tried first, often with benzodiazepines. Some antidepressants -- including venlafaxine (Effexor) -- are also effective. Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors are sometimes prescribed for people who don't respond to SSRIs.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is usually combined with medication in treating social phobia. Two forms of CBT are especially beneficial: anxiety management training and cognitive restructuring. Anxiety management focuses on teaching relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, to help control anxiety. Cognitive restructuring teaches people how to recognize the thought processes that lead to the phobia and replace them with new assessments and expectations. Group CBT and advice on improving social skills can also help build confidence in social situations.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.