How can social anxiety disorder be managed?
Q: I am a 26 years old male suffering from social anxiety disorder for the last 10 years. I have withdrawn myself from the outside world and become nervous and feel tense when I go to shops/banks, answer phone calls, or face people. I remain silent or my voice chokes and I look nervous. In childhood, I was a little shy but not like this. . What should I do?
A:It can be very challenging to struggle with social anxiety disorder, and the nature of the disorder can further frustrate help seeking attempts. However, management can help reduce the anxiety levels significantly, and with success, to bring more order and meaning in day to day life. A combination treatment with psychological support, particularly employing techniques of cognitive behaviour therapy, can be very useful. One of the best places to go to would be NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental health and Neurosciences), even though it will involve long queues and waiting period. A comprehensive diagnostic assessment would be pertinent initially, and thereafter the role of clinical psychologist to work with you in understanding and practising specific techniques to deal with the anxiety. As the anxiety is very debilitating, perhaps specific medications may also be helpful which can be prescribed by a psychiatrist. As an extra resource, if you have access to internet, there are several online therapy websites which offer therapy on the net though it would be difficult to comment how effective they could be in your specific case.