A group of people in a therapy setting for social anxiety treatment.
Getty Images/Vladimir Vladimirov

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“Some people can’t wait to be around a lot of people and are fond of being in the company of others. This may be different for people with social anxiety disorder.”

If you have social anxiety, or social phobia, interacting with people on a social level doesn’t always come naturally. In fact, it can feel downright frightening.

Social anxiety disorder can cause self-consciousness and worry. You may be afraid of being judged.

Socialization can cause physical symptoms.

  • sweating
  • trembling
  • rapid heart rate
  • nausea
  • blushing
  • The breath was very thin.

“Social anxiety can affect your interactions at school, but it doesn’t have to be a problem. Treatment can help you manage the condition and become more comfortable.”

There are a few ways to treat social anxiety.

Social anxiety is a type of anxiety condition that makes people feel anxious or fearful in social settings.

People with social anxiety disorder might have a hard time meeting new people. They may know that they are anxious, but they may still have difficulty overcoming them.

“This type of disorder can affect one’s ability to work, study, and create close relationships with other people, and can be disabling on a persistent basis.”

We looked at different treatments and chose the best one based on what has been proven to help with anxiety and this disorder in particular.

We looked at how many options each method offered, its availability in different markets, pricing, and whether insurance is accepted.

Benefits of therapy

There are a few benefits of therapy. The main one is that you can discuss your thoughts and feelings with your therapist, and they can help you discover the root cause of your social anxiety.

Therapy can have other benefits.

  • A plan to help you overcome anxiety.
  • It is a safe place to express fears.
  • Skills to acknowledge your triggers are being developed.
  • Building healthier habits to deal with anxiety.


If your social anxiety seems too overwhelming to handle, it’s important to speak with a mental health professional. Psychotherapy is an effective treatment on its own and might be even more effective when combined with medication.

You will learn how to change your thoughts about yourself. This type of therapy can help you get over your anxiety.

Through role-playing and other methods, you can learn how to improve your interactions in social settings which can help build your confidence.


It’s been found that teletherapy, or therapy delivered remotely, can benefit those with social anxiety disorder who might delay or avoid in-person therapy. This can be common due to anxiety over commuting to appointments and meeting someone new in person, even if their role is a mental health professional.

Having that extra space and time can actually improve outcomes for people living with social anxiety since their anxiety isn’t heightened by being in the physical presence of a therapist. Trust can build faster when patients feel more comfortable and are willing to share their concerns, which teletherapy can help with. Plus, there’s a higher level of anonymity and confidentiality since patients can be alone in their homes or private space.

Teletherapy for people with social anxiety disorder can be beneficial.

  • Convenience: there’s no commute or traffic, and you’re not running into people on your way to therapy. You also don’t need to worry about what you’re wearing or how you look, which you may focus on and feel stressed about for in-person meetings.
  • Privacy: you’re able to stay in the comfort of your own home with no need to explain to anyone why you’re in therapy.
  • Accessibility: it can often be stressful to find the right therapist who you connect well with. Teletherapy can take some of that stress away since you’re not limited to a specific geographic location and can choose from a wider pool of professionals.

Some of our top teletherapy platforms are listed.

Support groups

You may want to join a local or online support group for social anxiety. Here, you’ll connect with people who understand what you’re going through because they’re managing the same condition.

You can learn from others and share your experiences in a support group.

Talking with a group and relating your fears is a good way to interact with others.

Realize you’re not alone

You are not the only one living with this type of fear, so support groups are a great reminder. Social settings and interactions can be a source of anxiety and fear for many people.

If you feel like you are being judged by others, keep in mind that others feel the same way. As you navigate social situations, remembering this can help.

Mental health professionals can prescribe medication to help you cope with social anxiety.

Your doctor can help you determine which type of medication is right for you.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs are often the first-line treatment for social anxiety and depression.

These medications — which include paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft) — work by increasing the level of serotonin in your brain.

Serotonin is a molecule that helps send messages. Depression and anxiety can be linked to low levels of the brain chemical, serotonin.

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

“If an SSRI doesn’t help with social anxiety, your doctor may prescribe another type of antidepressants.”

This may be an SNRI such as:

The medications help improve mood and anxiety.

It is possible that anti-depressants work well in one person and not in another. It is possible that your doctor will need to prescribe different medications until he finds one that works for you.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

If your social anxiety is severe enough that you experience panic attacks, your doctor may prescribe you MAOIs. These are antidepressants that help prevent panic attacks.

Monoamine oxidase is a chemical in your brain that can be stopped by MAOIs.

phenelzine and tranylcypromine are popular forms of this drug, which have been shown to help with panic attacks.

MAOIs are not usually prescribed anymore due to side effects, and have been replaced by antidepressants.


Beta-blockers are commonly used to reduce high blood pressure but are sometimes prescribed to treat the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as rapid heart rate, sweating, or tremors.

These medications — which include propranolol (Inderal) and atenolol (Tenormin) — block the stimulating effects of adrenaline. Beta-blockers are also an option for performance anxiety, which is a type of social anxiety.

Anti-anxiety medication

Anti-anxiety medications are used for social anxiety. Some of the medications include:

These medications can be habit-forming or have a sedative effect. For this reason, your doctor may not prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for a long time.

“Anti-anxiety medications should not be the first line of treatment for anxiety disorders. Some people won’t respond to other types of treatment.”

The decision to use these medications will need to be made after a discussion with your doctor, weighing how they may benefit you against the chance of dependence.

“Alternative methods can be used if your social anxiety isn’t severe, and traditional methods can be used if you face more anxiety in social situations.”

Alternative therapies

Alternative therapies can help you deal with social phobias.

Some alternative therapies are considered.

Lifestyle changes

Changes in lifestyle may have a positive impact on anxiety. It might be easier to cope in social settings if you can reduce your anxiety level.

“One change you can make is getting regular physical activity. Exercise increases your brain’s production of feel-good hormones that regulate mood and anxiety. Most days of the week, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity.”

Knowing your limitations can help you reduce anxiety. If you have too much on your plate, it can make you feel anxious, so try to prioritize rest, relaxation, and self-care.

Avoid or limit caffeine

Coffee, tea, and soda can provide a pick-me-up. If you have anxiety, the effects of caffeine can make you feel worse.

“If you can’t give up coffee or tea, try to cut back on the amount you consume.”

Even though up to 400 milligrams per day is safe for healthy adults, according to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), everyone experiences the effects of caffeine differently.

If you are managing social anxiety, you might need to drink less.

Practice being social

Practice can help with social anxiety.

Baby steps will make you feel less afraid of social settings. Simply avoiding social interactions could make you anxious.

You can practice talking to people. Say “Good morning” or compliment a coworker. This can be as simple as, “I like your hair.”

Try to make eye contact with people. If you are in a retail store, you can ask a sales associate for help.

Prepare for social events

Prepare for social events in advance, rather than turning them down. It is an excellent way to build confidence.

If you know of the guest list, you should consider the interests of those attending. Someone might have recently gone on vacation or started a new job. Prepare a few questions to break the ice and start a conversation.

Don\’t ask if it\’s a yes or no answer. The idea is to converse. Instead of asking, “Did you enjoy your trip to Florida?”, ask, “What did you like about your trip to Florida?”

The other person will usually open up and start the conversation. It will be easier to speak with others if you talk more.

It can be hard to know which option is the best for you. It comes down to who you are and what you need.

Your decision should account for a number of factors.

  • Your lifestyle.
  • How long do you want the treatment to last?
  • How easy is it to stick to the treatment?
  • Cost
  • Is insurance accepted?
  • What do you like most?

If you find that you go out of your way to avoid social situations because of fear, you may want to seek help. If you have noticed that your anxiety causes social isolation or big life changes, it may be time to see a mental health professional.

It is important to know if you need professional help before you get to these points. Without treatment, your life can be adversely affected.

What is the most effective treatment for social anxiety?

There are many effective ways to treat social anxiety. One treatment plan is better than the other because they are all suited for different types of people.

That said, experts believe that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is very effective. Psychotherapy, teletherapy, support groups, and medication are all great options, too.

It is best to talk with a mental health professional about your treatment.

Can social anxiety be avoided?

You can try to avoid social anxiety by taking gradual steps in social situations. You can start with something that you can handle, like a small group of 2 to 4 people in a casual setting, and work your way up to more difficult scenarios.

This can help you build confidence and cope with social anxiety.

Can social anxiety be cured?

If you have the right mindset, openness to trying different strategies and lifestyle changes, and professional help, you can at least mitigate social anxiety over time.

You may feel alone or that your situation is not worth fighting for. This is not the truth.

Treatment can help you overcome your fear. You can start with home remedies.

“If these don’t work, talk to your doctor about prescription medication or counseling. Mental health professionals can help you with your mental health issues.”

Visit the American Psychiatric Association website to find a mental health professional in your area.