It’s normal to feel shy around others, but what is social anxiety, and how does it differ from general shyness?
Consider how you might answer these questions:
- Do you avoid meeting new people?
- Do you constantly worry about being judged by others or embarrassing yourself in front of them?
- Do you feel intense anxiety before attending social situations?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, it’s possible that you’re suffering from social anxiety, a type of anxiety disorder that causes excessive fear and worry around social interactions and events.
It’s estimated that social anxiety disorder affects roughly 7.1% of American adults or about 15 million people. This includes both men and women, with symptoms usually beginning to appear in the early teen years.
Left untreated, social anxiety can have negative impacts on everything from your social and romantic relationships to your ability to excel in school and work. For that reason, it’s important to know what treatment options are available, as well as some of the signs that it’s time to seek help.
Below, we’re taking a deeper look at social anxiety solutions and more, including how Ketamine Infusion Therapy could help you overcome this debilitating disorder.
Social Anxiety Symptoms: Know the Signs
Social anxiety disorder, also referred to as social phobia, is an often misunderstood mental health condition, largely because it’s easily confused with general feelings of shyness or discomfort in social situations. Unlike these common feelings, social anxiety disorder is defined by its intensity, with individuals feeling excessive amounts of distress, fear, and anxiety surrounding their interactions with others.
The symptoms of social anxiety are both mental and physical and can include the following:
- Avoidance of social interactions and/or places where it is likely for social interaction to occur
- Extreme self-consciousness around other people
- Experiencing trembling, sweating, blushing, and/or a rapid heart rate when speaking to or in front of others
- Inability to make and maintain eye contact
- Depression or fear ahead of social situations
People who struggle with these symptoms are different from introverts. While an introvert may choose alone time over social settings because they find it to be a relaxing form of self-care, those with social anxiety avoid social settings because they feel truly unsafe and unwell with them. In fact, some people with this disorder may actually have high-functioning anxiety, meaning they are generally perceived as extroverts and appear on the surface to have no trouble engaging with those around them.
If you’re not sure whether your experiences are rooted in social anxiety, introversion, or shyness, your best course of action is to seek out support from a mental health professional.
Social Anxiety Treatment Options
It may seem like social anxiety is impossible to overcome, but there are actually some very effective treatments available. This includes medication for social anxiety and alternative treatments like ketamine infusions. Learn about some of the possible treatment options, and consider what might work best for your lifestyle and long-term health goals.
Antidepressants are a first-line treatment for many individuals with social anxiety, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, and Lexapro. These medications may be given alongside benzodiazepines, a class of anti-anxiety drugs prescribed for the management of acute symptoms rather than long-term, everyday use. Serious side effects are possible with any drug, though, and it’s important to undergo regular medication management with a professional to ensure a specific medication and dosage is right for you.
Ketamine Infusion Therapy may be able to offer rapid relief from social anxiety symptoms, as well as sustained relief after multiple sessions. It is a particularly useful treatment option for individuals who fail to find success with medication for social anxiety or who are worried about the side effects and risks of prescription drugs. While success rates with ketamine may vary, more than 80% of our patients report lasting relief from the symptoms of mood disorders like generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety after just six sessions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is the most commonly used type of psychotherapy for the treatment of social anxiety disorder. The goal of CBT is to address the way that someone thinks and behaves in certain situations, with a focus on developing coping skills that can be used to modify behaviors in real time.
Various forms of meditation have been used for centuries for mental and physical wellness and may be effective in relieving symptoms of stress and anxiety. Yoga, mindfulness meditation, guided meditation, and transcendental meditation may be used to treat social anxiety, with some using them as supplemental tools while others manage to find full relief through these means.
Get Help for Your Social Anxiety
Social anxiety might feel inescapable, but relief is possible with the right treatment. Here at Ketamine Clinics Los Angeles, we have more than nine years of experience in successfully treating social anxiety and other mood disorders. Let us help you discover your path to a better life. Please contact us to learn more about our services, including Ketamine Infusion Therapy and Psychiatric Medication Management.