Common Behavioral Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder

Cognitive behavioral therapy has proven to be very effective in treating social anxiety disorder.
Behavioral therapy focuses on specific steps to lessen anxiety and reduce the likelihood of recurrence. The patient is asked to face the thing they fear (exposure), and not avoid to cope with the situation.

Patients must be willing to endure temporary increases in anxiety and other symptoms in order to attain long term reduction of symptoms. The therapy is time consuming. Hard work is required by the patient to insure symptomatic relief.
The cognitive part of therapy involves replacing negative thoughts (self-talk) with positive. e.g., Instead of, “they will think I’m stupid”, replace it with “I know I’m smart.” Optimists see things better than they are. Pessimists see things worse than they are. Realists see things as they are.
Optimists have the highest quality of life and live longer.
Exposure therapy:
Real life (in vivo)-involves having the patient place themselves in actual anxiety provoking situations until they experience at least a 50% reduction of anxiety.
Every treatment outcome study utilizing exposure has produced significant reductions in social anxiety symptoms. The therapy requires repetitive patient exposure to all anxiety triggers for best results. This will include reduction of anticipatory anxiety and increased comfort levels in social situations.
Social Skills Training-some people benefit from learning techniques to become more assertive, make small talk more effectively, improve eye contact, etc.

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