A few ways to help break out of the prison created by social anxiety

November 3, 2015

Social anxiety often makes people feel like prisoners to their own minds. Fortunately, there are some effective ways for people who suffer from social anxiety to break out of this and regain quality of life.

A few ways to help break out of the prison created by social anxiety

Simplifying social interactions

Social anxiety is similar to other types of severe paranoia and anxiety, but it is specifically triggered by being in, or the thought of, social situations. Although some sufferers may find it easier to deal with other people over the phone or via email, many social phobics are not comforted by virtual social situations.

  • For social anxiety sufferers who can't face crowds, it may be easier to interact with other people via email or telephone. If so, there are several ways to cut down on personal interaction in the short term, until you are able to cope with social situations more easily.
  • Examples include ordering groceries online and having them delivered or troubleshooting software or technical issues via online forms instead of at the company office.
  • If telephone and online interactions are just as anxiety-inducing as talking face-to-face, there are still a few ways to sidestep the social process. Consider setting up online banking and automatic bill payments. Order takeout meals via impersonal website forms and cut down use of social media websites.
  • Stay connected with family members and friends who you trust and feel comfortable with to fortify your ability to interact on a personal level.
  • Frequent, positive social experiences with people you trust will start to erase your brain's automatic anxiety response when faced with new people or social situations. Eventually, you will be able to stop avoiding contact with crowds and strangers so often.

Medication and professional therapy

There are two basic types of medication when it comes to treating severe anxiety of any kind: sedatives and antidepressants.

  • Most unmedicated anxiety sufferers, once put under the care of a professional psychiatrist or general medical practitioner, will first be given a mild sedative to help soothe the symptoms of anxiety. The use of sedatives only lasts a few weeks until the anti-depressant has time to kick in.
  • Anti-depressants come in many forms, and people react differently to medications.
  • Ultimately, your doctor may have you try a few different anti-depressants before settling on a long-term medication.
  • For many people, medication cuts down on both mental and physical symptoms of anxiety including excessive sweating and panic attacks. Professional therapy usually goes hand-in-hand with medication.

Additional resources

Here are a few more helpful resources to check out:




Social anxiety can be a debilitating condition that significantly affects a person's life. Just know that there are treatment options available. Find a doctor you trust and work towards making yourself more comfortable in social situations.

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