Social Anxiety
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Medications for Social Anxiety Disorder - Yes or No?

Henry Vyner, MD, Psychiatrist
Medications for Social Anxiety Disorder - Yes or No?

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), which is also known as Social Phobia, is not the same thing as being shy. People who have SAD are so scared of social situations that they experience the following kinds of symptoms in social situations:

Psychologically, the causes of SAD are having a fear of:

If you have SAD, You have several basic treatment options: cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness training, exposure therapy, meditation and taking medications.

Given that the psychological ground of SAD is a fear of being judged in social situations, cognitive therapy can teach you to: (1) not believe the thoughts that make you afraid in social situations and (2) learn how to have more positive thoughts about being with people.Behavioral therapy will place you in simulated social situations and give you an opportunity to learn how to not be afraid in those situations. Mindfulness and meditation will teach you to be aware of your fears without judging them or believing that they are true.

Given that the primary cause of SAD are your fears, it makes sense to first try to deal with your fears with either therapy, meditation or mindfulness.      

However, if these treatments don’t work, then you will want to try taking medications. The remainder of this article is going to review the main types of medications that are used to treat SAD.

Anxiety Medications

Social anxiety medications are not entirely dissimilar to the medications used for other anxiety disorders, with a few exceptions. The most common include:

Once again, it is a good idea to try therapy, meditation or mindfulness first before you try medications. The reason is that there are clearly definable psychological causes of SAD. But if they don’t work, you can try them in combination with medications.

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