Is there help?

Yes. Currently both medication and psychotherapy have been shown to be effective in reducing social anxiety symptoms.

Medication

The FDA has approved three medications for the treatment of social anxiety disorder; paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft) and venlafaxine extended release (Effexor XR). Nevertheless, there are several other medications that appear promising.

We are conducting a research study for treatment of social anxiety using investigational medications in the following cities: San Diego, Boston and Hamilton, Ontario. This study offers a proven treatment (sertraline [Zoloft]) for social anxiety disorder. For those participants who continue to experience social anxiety symptoms after initial treatment, an adjunctive or secondary treatment is offered.

Participants will receive:

  • A comprehensive evaluation to determine if they have social anxiety disorder.
  • A physical examination with blood and urine tests.
  • Visits to our UCSD clinic to monitor your social anxiety symptoms and study the effects of treatment.

Clinical care and medication during the study will be provided at no charge to you. All visits take place at our clinics. For more detailed information about the study in any of these cities, please call 1-877-UCSD-SHY (1-877-827-3749).

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is also an effective option for some individuals. The type of therapy that has received the most research support is called cognitive behavior therapy. This therapy focuses on helping the person understand their anxiety patterns, helping the individual gradually confront their fears, and changing unhelpful thinking patterns in anxiety provoking situations. You can contact a mental health professional or check out a self-help manual to find out more about this treatment.

If you have mostly public speaking fears you may want to search out organizations where individuals have the opportunity to practice their speaking skills (e.g., introducing themselves, brief presentations, speeches, etc.) in a supportive atmosphere. One of these groups is called Toastmasters International. For more information please visit their website or check your telephone directory.