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Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder Counseling

Social situations can be stressful for anybody, but social anxiety can make being around people feel daunting, even terrifying, at the worst of times. Social Anxiety Disorder is more than a matter of simply being “shy.”


It can make everyday interactions difficult or seemingly impossible to endure and can put a tremendous hindrance on one’s work, academic and family lives. If you have ever felt paralyzed by fear in social situations, know that you are not alone. Social Anxiety Disorder effects millions of people worldwide and there are many treatment options available.

Social Anxiety Theapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

As a number of sessions as to be determined by you and your therapist, cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) is one of the most effective and enduring treatment options for Social Anxiety Disorder. This form of therapy focuses on the building of confidence and the cultivation of management skills that can make you feel more at ease when in a social situation.

CBT will identify your negative thoughts, as well as the origins of those thoughts, and work to change them toward something more positive. You will learn how to focus on the present rather than the events of the past.


Your therapist may employ a number of exercises including:

  • Role-playing exercises

  • Public speaking lessons

  • Other forms of social skills training

By changing the way that you perceive the crowded world around you, CBT makes social situations far more bearable and even fun to experience, rather than frightening.

Medication Therapy from a Psychiatrist

Medications are often used in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy, but this isn’t always the case. The two practices can be used independently of each other. Your psychiatrist may prescribe one of several different types of anti-depressants to help you to conquer your social anxiety:

  • SSRIs – Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (Paxil, Zoloft)

  • SNRIs – Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (Cymbalta)

  • Tricyclic antidepressants such as Tofranil

SSRIs and SNRIs are more likely to be prescribed before any other type of anti-depressant in the treatment of depression as well as social anxiety. This is because they create fewer side effects. If none of these medications seem to work for you, you may be placed onto a combination of different medications, including some that aren’t traditionally used in the treatment of your particular mental health issue.


Unfortunately, there is no telling which medication will be the most effective right off the bat. You will need to be open and honest in communicating with your doctor if you have any side effects or questions about your medication. Never change or stop your medication without the guidance of your doctor first.

Cognitive behavioral therapy and medication therapy are generally equally effective in helping patients manage their Social Anxiety Disorder. However, it is very common and encouraged for medicated patients to also take advantage of the benefits of CBT.


Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you to focus on different elements of your treatment, thus creating a more well-rounded treatment plan for you. The skills taught in these therapy sessions can help you to navigate the changing terrain of social situations while you find the right medication that works for you, or even after your doctor has decided that you are no longer in need of medication.

Whatever option you choose, know that you are making great strides toward treating your Social Anxiety Disorder by simply evaluating your options in the first place. It can be tough to seek out help, especially when many people believe that SAD is just a matter of being “too shy.” Your condition can make social situations the bane of your existence, but that doesn’t have to be the case forever.

Call Dr. Clare Albright, Psy.D. CA Psychologist License PSY11660 at (949) 433-3124 or (949) 454-0996 at

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