Dr. Tamar Chansky - How is social anxiety disorder treated?

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As with any anxiety disorder, the first step is understanding why you are having the symptoms that you are and so with social anxiety, people need to understand that just this feedback loop of paying way too much attention to every single word that you're saying and every single reaction, trying to read faces, did they like that, did they not like that, the part of that is a no fault situation where the brain is just a program to look at these small detail and really exaggerate the meaning of them.

So, in understanding that, then what we are looking for with treatment for social anxiety is changing the self talk, so instead of sort of editing it, you might think people are going to laugh at me, or people think I'm crazy and you want to edit in things like, I'm having a thought right now the people are looking at me, I'm having a thought right now that people thinking I'm crazy because you want get distance from those thoughts, take away the authority that they have because they are really coming from a distortion, they are coming for reality.

Another part of treatment for social anxiety is working on any kind of skills that may be lacking, sometimes there's just an idea that in a conversation, if the conversation isn't going well is because I'm not a good conversationalist, I can't think of anything to say, what if I don't say something.

So correcting that idea that our conservation is 100% your responsibility it's not, it's a 50/50 venture but you may also want to brush up on your conversation skills so that you go into a situation knowing some tools like how to ask questions, how to make comments on someone else's question or statement.

And finally what we want to do with social anxiety is work on practicing in a situation that cause distress, so you've worked on your self talk, you also want to work on some breathing techniques to calm down the body's reaction but then you take the show the road. You go into a store and you ask questions or you go and you order in a restaurant or you practice asking someone out for a date or giving feedback to a co-worker, practice makes only not perfect, but it really makes confidence.

So the more that you rehearse these things that you've been afraid to do, the more confident you feel that you'll be able to do them, and you're no longer in that emergency mode, you have really shifted into a place of taking charge of your life.