Overcoming Social Anxiety Disorder: The Benefits of Therapy

Social anxiety disorder is a common mental health illness that affects millions of Americans.
It is associated with excessive fear of being judged, intense anxiety, or anticipation of rejection in social places.
Unfortunately, this condition can negatively impact a patient’s social, personal, or work life.

When social anxiety disorder pops up in a social setting, it is a source of distress. It also inhibits you from doing day-to-day tasks that could be necessary for your routine. Consequently, people with social anxiety disorders tend to avoid or enter a social situation with much distress.

While the disorder can be disorienting, effective treatments are available to help victims improve their quality of life. Therapy has proved an effective treatment method for overcoming symptoms and providing long-term care.

If you’re looking to overcome social anxiety disorder, consider speaking to a mental health professional with relevant therapy experience.

Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding Social Anxiety Disorder and Its Symptoms

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), also known as social disorder, causes victims or patients to experience fear or anxiety in social settings. Anyone with an anxiety disorder has trouble talking to people, attending social places, and meeting new people.

Unlike shyness, which you might easily overcome, social anxiety disorder significantly impacts your life.
Social anxiety is persistent and can overwhelm you, hindering your daily routines, such as shopping, morning run, or going to work.


Social anxiety is often confused with shyness or reservation, behavior that very common. Other people avoid expressing themselves or interacting due to experience or character traits. On the contrary, social anxiety is a defined reservation characterized by fear, anxiety, and avoidance, which interfere with relationships, everyday routine, work, and other activities. Social Anxiety Disorder can occur in people of all ages; however, it mostly begins in the mid-teens.

Physical Symptoms

Your body can display symptoms such as trembling, muscle tension, sweating, lightheadedness, nausea, blushing, and trouble catching your breath. 

Emotional Symptoms

You may also display the following behavioral or emotional symptoms:

  • An overwhelming fear of talking or interacting with strangers
  • Being conscious that someone will notice your anxiety
  • Extreme anxiety of fear in social settings
  • Worrying that you’re likely to embarrass or humiliate yourself
  • Avoiding instances where you’re likely to be put on the spot
  • Being conscious of symptoms such as blushing, sweating, trembling, or a shaky voice that can make you feel embarrased
  • Overanalyzing your performance and pinpointing flaws following a social situation
  • Avoiding doing or speaking things for fear of embarrassment

You can also identify someone with Society Anxiety Disorders by the likelihood of avoiding social situations. Patients with social anxiety will likely avoid dating, going to work, making eye contact, attending parties, or using a public restroom.

What Causes Social Anxiety Disorder

The exact cause of Social Anxiety Disorder is unknown; however, it may result from a combination of factors. 

The possible causes include:

  • Biological Traits: Some families have a higher percentage of affected persons than others. It doesn’t mean genetics has a hand in it; it’s more of a learned behavior.
  • Environment: Social Anxiety Disorder is a learned behavior, which explains why some people develop anxiety following an embarrassing or uncomfortable social situation. People who grow up under the care of controlling or overprotective parents are also at risk of developing social anxiety.

Several factors expose people to social anxiety, such as family history, social demands, or negative experiences. In addition, conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or disfigurement that draw attention may cause consciousness leading to social anxiety.

The Role of Therapy in Treating Social Anxiety Disorder

Psychotherapy is an effective treatment that helps people relieve symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder. Therapy applies an objective approach to help you recognize and transform negative thoughts about yourself and learn new skills.

It also equips you with the confidence to join and enjoy social settings. Although there are various forms of therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy(CBT) is the most effective treatment for anxiety disorder.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) uses different techniques based on the condition under treatment. For instance, the type of technique used to treat depression is not similar to the approach applied to treat anxiety.

The difference in approach highlights the need to work with a mental health professional with a bias in dealing with Social Anxiety Disorder.

The Goals of the CBT Technique While Treating Social Anxiety

One of the primary goals of CBT is to identify illogical thoughts, beliefs, and patterns and replace them with more practical alternatives. CBT therapy is anchored on the principle that thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interlinked.

A therapist helps patients identify the above hindrances, an awakening that changes how they feel or behave.

As you work towards the set goal, the therapist will guide you through the following problem areas:

  • How to enhance your boldness
  • Managing perfectionism and being more realistic
  • Overcoming procrastination related to social anxiety
  • Dealing with negative beliefs about your abilities and self-worth
  • Tackling guilt, anger, and embarrassment over past situations


Interestingly, the therapy sessions establish a learning mode where there’s a teacher-student relationship. The therapist helps you explore the concept through one-on-one sessions, group work, and takeaway homework.

What Enhances Success in CBT

All patients undergoing CBT therapy cannot enjoy the same success. However, you can take specific steps to make the most out of treatment.


Here are a few suggestions:


  • Avoid skipping your therapy sessions
  • Be honest and be open to new insights 
  • Make sure you agree on issues with your therapist— make it a partnership
  • Show willingness to complete your assignments and homework
  • Look for a different approach if the current is not working

Cognitive Techniques

Cognitive Behavior Therapy focuses on tuning twisted thinking that results in anxiety. The cognitive approach helps patients feel less anxious and in control of situations. 


For example, for a patient who fears public speaking— the mere thought of public speaking triggers the fear of embarrassment or failure. CBT aims to reshape these mental distortions with more practical views.


It’s also important to note that a mental health professional can provide therapy online. It is an approach with growing popularity that may be helpful to patients with severe social anxiety. Since CBT follows a structured approach, it can be administered online through self-help guides or when supported by a therapist.

Behavior Techniques

CBT also helps to change socially anxious behaviors, an approach called systematic desensitization. It involves learning relaxation techniques by exposing you to anxiety-triggering situations.


Over time, patients with social anxiety will learn to overcome their fears. Even so, a therapist administers the exposure training gradually. A quick ‘toughen-up’ approach cannot help solve your concerns.


Instead, a therapist systematically exposes you to fears to build your confidence to face them.

The Benefits of Overcoming Social Anxiety Disorder Through Therapy and How to Find a Qualified Therapist

Anxiety therapy techniques like CBT can help you overcome worry by replacing it with thoughts you find meaningful and valuable. Unlike other forms of treatment, it equips patients with coping mechanisms and a long-term cure for anxiety disorder.

Here are a few benefits of overcoming social anxiety disorder through therapy:


  • It Can Enhance Your Self Confidence: Through therapy, you’ll gradually stop worrying about your abilities or judging yourself too much. It will also equip you with skills that make you believe in yourself and overcome anxiety.
  • It’s a Safe Space to Express Your Doubts and Fears: Mental health professionals are trained to provide a conducive environment without judgment or stigma. 
  • Therapy Helps You Identify the Cause of Anxiety: Therapy will pinpoint negative thought patterns, past experiences, or beliefs behind your anxiety disorder.
  • Avoid Anxiety-Related Complications: If untreated, anxiety can control your life. Anxiety disorder affects your life, work, or relationships. Worse still, it can cause complications such as low self-esteem, suicide attempts, substance abuse, and poor social skills.

How to Find a Qualified Therapist

Finding the right therapist directly impacts your recovery from mental health problems. For some reason, you may lack enough therapists in your area, or you’re not finding solutions from those you meet.


A qualified therapist will help you develop skills and confidence to deal with anxiety disorders— therefore, finding the right therapist is worth the effort.


Here are a few tips to improve your search:


  • Consult the directory of your insurance provider.
  • Crawl reliable online directories, e.g., the American Psychological Association or National Institute of Mental Health’s Helpline Directory.
  • Look at their credentials.
  • Seek recommendations from your networks, e.g., schools, professional bodies, or community groups.
  • Ask a trusted friend

Let’s Help You Overcome Social Anxiety Disorder Through Therapy

Social Anxiety Disorder is a hindrance to your mental health. If left untreated, it can lead to low self-esteem, substance abuse, low productivity in life, and isolation. It’s, therefore, recommendable to seek help from a mental health professional before symptoms become severe.


At MindVibe, we have a team of online therapists who use a collaborative approach to help patients overcome social anxiety disorder.

Contact us now or call us at 805.429.8908 to make an appointment.

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