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Discussion in 'Social Anxiety Disorder' started by Goodman, Jul 2, 2016.
Hоw саn I оvеrсоmе sосiаl аnxiеty withоut thе usе оf mеdiсаtiоn?
For one thing don't refill your prescription. That way you won't have pills to take. Secondly, you need to push your threshold slowly. Whatever you anxiety is, in a controlled environment with the help of people you trust and comfortable with, try to introduce new people into the fold that are positive individuals. That way they won't attack you and try to hurt you in anyway. The sad part is, that most people in the world won't be as kind, but some baby steps has to be made to get you introduced to people out of your circle. I'm not talking about throwing you to the wolves with a bachelor party with 50 guys. I'm talking about a small barbecue with close friends and 1 new stranger that your friends know and trust that won't attack or disrespect you.
One thing I did find very helpful myself personally, although I know many people think it's over-rated or is pseudo-science, is self-help and self-improvement techniques, many of which are based on known psychological principles. NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), for example, is something which anyone can learn a few techniques from which can be useful. It's basically a way of placing yourself into a different frame of mind and using certain techniques in therapeutic ways. It pretty much goes as deep as you want it to, even into waking hypnosis, and if you really want to get deep with it you can use it to reprogram your mind. There are, of course, many other simple techniques and principles outside of NLP which can be very beneficial including the power of positive thought and self-affirmation, which is hugely under-rated. You can also try subliminal MP3's, many of which are available for free, use breathing techniques, improving posture, spending more time among nature and many other things.
The most important part is to build up your self confidence. This is easier said then done but if you start slowly and only interact with one person at a go you will see that it starts to become easier and easier over time.
I would highly recommend looking into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Find a licensed therapist who has experience treating anxiety disorders (even better if they specialize in social anxiety). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a form of therapy that's been backed scientifically and it's helped me learn good coping strategies while pushing myself more and more. Current research actually shows that therapy methods tend to work better for anxiety than medications (though medications can of course help, it depends a lot on the person).
I wouldn't just look things up and try techniques on your own, you could do more harm than good. An actual therapist will be able to guide and teach you in a safe environment.
I slowly started to get better with social anxiety. When I was growing up I was always the shy person who always kept and hardly tried to get anyone. The first time that I broke out of that barrier was when I decided to join the Navy in 2008. While in the Navy I learned that not everyone is judging you or will be mean to you. There were people who actually wanted to get to know and be friends with me. Going out more with groups of people who I met helped because it gave me the chance to slowly open up to others and let everyone know who I am.
I would say firstly, please, please consult with your doctor if you're planning to go off your medication - sometimes going cold turkey really is not a good thing and you need to wind down gradually.
I do think that for me, as crazy as it sounds, repeated exposure to social situations is really what helps me. Sounds like throwing yourself in at the deep end, a bit...but I find when I shut myself off for too long, that's when my social anxiety symptoms really hit their worst. If I give myself opportunities to be in social situations in small doses but regularly, it seems to help.
I think the only way to overcome social anxiety without the help of any medication is to constantly expose yourself to people and social functions. This will be like sort of practice until you finally feel at home to such situations. This is obviously easier said than done, but if you feel like you're up for this challenge, go for it, it will probably be worth it in the end, i haven't tried.
It isn't safe to just stop taking the pills suddenly. Especially if you have been taking them for a while already.
I often listen to binaural beats and theta waves which I find helpful. You can meditate too. Meditation brings an inner peace and helps you to relax. Doing breathing exercises when you are in the midsts of an attack also helps.
You are already on the road to overcoming this! My son who is 20 years old was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, OCD, and social anxiety at the age of 15. His social anxiety was terrible. He could not attend school, family functions, or even check the mail. At the age of 19, he decided to stop taking meds. It was a long hard road, but he is doing so much better! We did little things like take short walks together, go to the animal shelter, go to the museum, etc. to build his self-confidence.
His self-esteem has risen and his moods have improved!
Hang in there, you can do this!
Since this is an old post, I hope the TC is doing better now XD
Anyway, Dragonfly1, thank you for sharing this story of your son! I can see how it can help inspire others who come in here reading and seeking some answers to that same issue
To benefit future readers, I shall share a little of my experience as well!
For me, personally what I did was discovering what exactly was causing my Anxiety, understanding it and finding ways to tackle it. In my case, it had a lot to do with self esteem. So one of the things I learned to conquer that is to reverse my self esteem and confidence level from low to high-
By giving myself reasons to feel good about myself, or in a more pop culture term- give myself reasons to love myself!
I started reading up on how to talk to people, experimenting with conversational topics and even behaviors. I even started working out- all of these led to me feeling good and more confident.
Why? I know I've put in the effort to improve and I've placed them in the right place!
It's kinda like taking a school quiz. If you didn't study for it, you'd be unprepared and totally wrecked in the confidence department. If you did study, however, you'd feel like you can take on the world- y'know what I'm saying? XD
Naturally, it's a slow process. Don't rush it! As Dragonfly1 said as well, it took at least 4 years to make the progress that can truly be felt. Myself, it took about that amount of time as well BUT what I came to learn on SA is this:
There's no cure to it. SA is not about curing something but managing. Think of it as a thermometer gauge of an engine. You want to learn how keep the heat at the right level. When it's too low (Lack in excitement) you gotta turn it up but when it gets too high (Overly exciting lol) you gotta learn how to cool it down.
It's not an easy battle, that's for sure but hey- that is why we're here
Hope you and your son are doing good, Dragonfly1!
My social anxiety has come from the panic attacks and PTSD I am having. I am also depressed and agoraphobic. I have panic attacks before I have to go out.
As @HappyBread said, it's more about managing social anxiety, rather then really overcoming it and being cured. Of course it's different for everyone and some people might experience social anxiety as a result of traumatic experiences or in a low episode in live.
Therefore the outcome of therapy and/or meds can be different, depending on the triggers.
I am wondering how the outcome will be from my therapy. I start at the end of this month. Although I did have therapy twenty years ago, it seemed to help but I keep having relapses and slipping backwards again.