6 Treatments for Social Anxiety That Actually Work
Imagine that every move you make was on a stage, with the most critical people in your life as audience and they are all scrutinizing your every move.
Laughing, mocking, berating, at every little movement you make, every little thought you have, every breath you take…
This scenario plays out in the minds of millions of people who suffer from social anxiety, even while they do something mundane such as getting up in the morning and going to the bathroom.
Every one of us has this small corner of insecurities, fears and anxiety that sometimes affects our mood and behavior – this is normal.
But people with social anxiety feel stifled and choked by the constant negative thoughts that run in their own mind. So much in fact that it makes it very difficult for them to function normally in society. This strong feeling of anxiety turns into depression as well.
Something like a meeting in the afternoon at work can be a terrifying test for people with this kind of disorder. They begin to feel extremely uncomfortable in the presence of other people and think that everyone in the meeting is watching them and critiquing their every move.
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The fact that over 40 million people are suffering from anxiety in the US alone does not seem to correlate to public awareness of the problem.
Sadly, even today, most people think that the sufferer has just to ‘man up’ and it will go away. Worst cases, people like this will be made fun of, and so afflicted people stuff their ‘illness’ still deeper into a defensive wall which no one can breach and neither can help.
What Does it Feel Like?
You are walking down the street on a bright, sunny day. It’s been ages since you’ve got out of the house, but still you want to do it.
If only to look at yourself in the mirror triumphantly when you get back, thinking “Hah, see? There’s nothing wrong with me!”
It All Seems to be Going Well
“This was a fantastic idea”, you think to yourself. Then out of the corner of your eye you notice a girl, laughing and talking to someone over the phone.
Immediately your mind begins to race “Is she talking about me? Is it my hair? How I walk? Or is it the color of my pants? Maybe my pants are torn and I wore them without noticing?”
…flood into the frail, tranquil, frame of mind which you’ve just constructed before you got out of the house.
You began to stiffen up. Your breathing becomes heavy and labored.
You begin to notice many eyes peering at you, looking through to your very soul.
You Must Get Away, Must Find Shelter.
As you stumble awkwardly trying to head back to your house, you can hear the cacophony of laughter, rising in pitch and decibels until it becomes unbearable.
You finally get to your house. You get in and shut the door. Then you slowly crumble to the ground, sobbing. There’s a note on the table and scribbled on it with your handwriting, “I will do it today!”
Imagine if this was every day of your life…
Social anxiety symptoms manifest in different ways: some happen in the body, some in the mind, and others in the way they change our behavior.
When struck with feelings of anxiety, our body reacts in a few ways. In most people, this means sweating, shortness of breath, shaking, and an increased heart rate.
Many others have a tough time walking normally. They become so self conscious about how they look that they trip and fall over themselves.
People with social anxiety disorder tend to blush more often than people without the disorder.
When these symptoms hit, it’s usually obvious to everyone. When you shake, or can’t breath, or stumble or sweat, everyone sees it — and this actually makes you more anxious.
You may experience some or all of these symptoms, or none of them. But generally, if you are feeling above average intensity of anxiety when you have a meeting to get to in office or just to go out and get yourself supplies for the week at a supermarket, you might be showing signs of social anxiety developing.
This becomes a big problem when you become super anxious with the small stresses of everyday life. There is distinct difference between just being anxious (this is okay) and having a panic attack (not okay) every time meeting someone or going out is mentioned.
If you can’t figure it out for yourself, ask your friends or family for help in identifying whether you have anxiety disorder. Failing that, if you have even the slightest suspicion, you might want to get an appointment with a psychiatrist. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
In acute cases, you might have intense anxiety and depression when surrounded by large groups people, like at a party or conference. Do you find yourself constantly avoiding situations where people congregate? That’s a good sign that you have social anxiety disorder.
You might have strong feelings of self-consciousness thinking that you are constantly being watched, judged and laughed at by others. The good news is that you can move towards a solution simply by becoming aware of the problem.
Even if you’re not able to move forward on your own, you can seek the help of others. The best option for someone with social anxiety is to get help in some form or another.
If talking with someone sounds scary, take an anxiety-depression test. Online tests at sites like the NHS can give you a better understanding of your condition.
People Who Conquered Their Fears
You might think that you are alone with this affliction. This is not true. Yet, most people with social anxiety disorder think that they are alone.
But the fact is there are many people who have fought the good fight against social anxiety disorder, accompanying depression and have won. If you are suffering from it, you can take heart in the fact that these people were in the limelight and public eye for most of their lives. And if they can subvert this irrational fear, you can too.
Here are some of the most popular personalities who have had to suffer through anxiety disorders.
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How to Overcome Depression and Anxiety
Thanks to decades of research, we’ve been able to establish that depression and anxiety are real problems, and they are more relevant than ever in today’s world.
There is a lot of stress and pressure to perform at your absolute best in all areas of life. Stress by itself is not a bad thing. But non-stop chronic stress negatively manifests as depression and anxiety. Some people are able to deal with it, other people are not.
A curious thing about depression is that it’s hard to diagnose. We all have instances of feeling a bit blue or lack of drive on a Monday morning, but the difference is that depression brings with it all these feelings persistently, so much so that it impairs your day-to-day normal functioning.
There are a large percentage of deaths due to suicide and yet people do not recognize it as something that could be dangerous when allowed to stagnate. One of the problems is that, unbeknownst to the person suffering from it, depression keeps sapping away at your confidence and nature until there is nothing but a husk left.
Contrary to popular belief, people can’t just decide one day to wake up and feel not depressed. There are some ways which can alleviate and eliminate depression. Like most things that are difficult to accomplish, the key to rid yourself of this negative agent is to start small and make slow but steady progress.
There are also several depression and anxiety related forums which can help you with accounts of how other people have attacked their fears and come out on the winning side. Registration is mostly free and open.
There are also phone numbers with support staff that cater to people suffering from depression and anxiety. They are toll-free and can help lend a sympathetic ear and may even suggest methods to combat it.
The Fight Against Depression
People can help!
One of the best and proven ways to get rid of this affliction is to surround yourself with the best support system you can get: friends and family. Some people tend to lock themselves away, physically and emotionally, in a dark corner. This is counter-productive because isolating yourself is practically the worst thing you can do to yourself and worsens the problem at hand.
You need people to help you get out of this rut. Although depression, by its very nature, makes it really hard to reach out to people and get their support. You need to steel yourself and make the extra effort to talk to close family and friends, sharing with them what you are exactly feeling. You can open up to them gradually if you feel too overwhelmed by it. Take your time and do this at your own pace. Accepting that it will be uncomfortable and take time is the first step.
At the end of the day, it’s worth the effort you take because these are people who want you to succeed and feel better. Quash negative feelings that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness or that you’ll be a burden on them.
Be more active socially. It helps you take your mind off the things that affect you negatively and bring more focus to current going-ons around you. While this can be a frightening ordeal for some, it’s the best step forward you can take. You being active socially helps you forget about the things that might have caused you to get depressed.
Do not neglect the power of support groups. Many people have shown remarkable progress when integrated into support groups of more than 5 people. Most times listening to other people can give comfort and help you relate better to people who actually suffer from the condition rather than someone who is just trying to calm you without knowing what the actual problem is.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) has a list of support groups available here: ADAA Support Groups.
Sweat it out!
This is something that you can do by yourself and has great benefits psychologically plus it gives you a great physique! So you shouldn’t ignore this as one of the entry points for your depression’s exit.
Many major studies have shown that exercise helps overcoming mental blockades by sub-consciously challenging you to better yourself. It also forces your body to release several chemicals (the same chemicals present in most antidepressants) like endorphins and other mood-enhancing compounds which directly flow to your brain and give you a kick-start.
Ideally you should be sweating for at least 30-40 minutes a day. You can always work yourself up to that starting from short bursts of activity lasting 5-10 minutes, just enough to get your blood pumping and leaving you fresh. The payback this offers is that it can leave you with a great frame of mind and keen to get more done the next day.
The best part is it doesn’t even have to be exercise. You can dance to your favorite song, take your dog out for a walk, enroll yourself into yoga, practice tai-chi at home… The possibilities are literally endless. The important thing is to pick one or many things that you really enjoy and get started with focusing all your energy into them and not giving up any of it to depression.
Clean stuff up
Your sense of hygiene is something that you begin to lose with too much introspection. Most people who are depressed tend to not care about their surroundings without realizing that it is actually detrimental to recovering from a negative state of mind.
Clean up your house, mow your lawn, vacuum your carpets and couch for starters. These can also help you shift your focus on other things rather than you being locked-in with negative vibes and give you a clean house to boot.
Put clean sheets on your bed and make sure, don’t leave laundry lying around and do all the dirty, unwashed dishes stacked in the sink. All these have a cumulative effect which can positively influence your temperament and encourage you to be more resilient to the effects of depression.
Put your books and stuff in order around the house. You will begin to change your general attitude towards better. This has been shown in various studies to be therapeutic on many levels.
Don’t go into the negative zone
Do you reminisce of a time when you were filled with positivity and zest for life? Is it a far cry from where you are now? You might want to get back to your old self. This is easier said than done, and I understand completely. The way depression works is that it puts you in a negative zone where nothing positive can exist, sort of like a black hole which doesn’t allow even light to escape.
When your mind gets fixated on a problem, it’s often because you’ve created a false dichotomy. In other words, your mind sees the possible solutions as either-or – either this way, or that way. In reality there are many possible solutions to any problem, it just takes a bit of mental maneuvering- called “cognitive reappraisal” – to recognize the full array of solutions.
Make it very clear to yourself that there are various ways to approach a problem. Choose the one that impacts you positively and skip all the negative ones. Constructive solutions to everyday problems will make sure that you feel great about yourself at the end of the day, as it is definitely the harder alternative. This reinforces your confidence and gets rid of negative feeling which manifest inside you.
It helps to move around with people who generally have a positive outlook towards life. These are the sort of people that can help you rise above the struggles of depression.
You need to tell yourself that it is okay to be below your best a few days. Keep your own standards realistic and not impossible. Many people who are depressed have attributed their need to get everything right as one of the main reasons. So give yourself some breathing space and try not to be too hard on yourself.
Watch what you eat
A healthy body promotes a healthy mind. What this means is that you should stop gorging on those extra-cheese pizzas which taste awesome when you are depressed or being anxious. A lot of people just start eating when they are under stress. This should strictly be avoided at all costs.
The key is to eat whole foods. Shift your diet to a surplus of leafy greens and lean meats. Things like fatty red meat, shakes, cakes, and burgers should rarely make their way onto your plate. When you keep away from all these, you’ll begin to feel less bloated and lighter on your feet, which in turn results in you feeling much better about yourself.
Also, when you have more fiber in your diet, it means you have a lot more energy to expend and won’t feel as slow as a snail on a rainy day. Coupled with better protein intake, you can quickly build a toned physique which can ease you off a bit about your anxiety and depression.
How Nootropics Can Help Fight Anxiety Problems
Do Herbal Supplements Actually Help Anxiety and Depression?
There are a variety of over-the-counter, herbal anti-anxiety medications that you can take. But what I want to talk to you about a branch of medical science that not only gets rid of anxiety and depression, but also empowers the brain to work harder, better and faster for an overall great result. What I’m referring to, of course, are nootropics.
Are there actually things like that NZT Drug from the Limitless Movie?
Yes! And believe it or not, many people who have taken it feel that the movie wasn’t exaggerating at all! People have personally written to me about how great they feel when they finally hit the right nootropic stack and reap all the benefits from it.
I’ve heard good things, but also that it may be dangerous.
If you don’t follow the right dosage and prescriptions any drug can be dangerous. There are an increasing number of people who have put their faith in nootropics like Phenibut, Modafinil and the like and are now living a much better life! You only have to do your research and ask your doctor before you get started on the road to cognitive betterment.
So, what are the benefits of taking these so-called Smart Drugs?
Well, there are several double-blind and placebo controlled studies that verify that nootropics definitely increase the cognitive abilities in healthy people. As a result of the cognitive boosts offered by these medications is that you become more confident, grab the chance to make interesting conversations with people and generally be the life of any party you go to.
Do Nootropics work, or are they just Snake-Oil?
There are many studies and verifiable information even on government websites like like the NIH PubMed, which has millions of research studies available to the public.
But I’ll save you the trouble: yes, nootropics work. In fact, they work quite well.
People of all ages have been taking them for a variety of reasons. Mood enhancement, memory, focus, staying awake and lessen the effects of neural impairment of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
So you see, they cover a wide band of serious brain-related problems.
What are the most popular Nootropic drugs I can take and what do they do?
Phenibut is one of those drugs that actually sounds too good to be true. People generally use it for anxiety, alcoholism, insomnia, stress, fatigue, PTSD and also for improving memory and other cognitive functions.
And the best part is that people who use them for their respective ailments swear by it and tell me that it actually works!
What Is Phenibut and How Does it Work?
Phenibut is a phenyl derivative of the naturally occurring inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA has proven to have nootropic properties.
Because Phenibut is a phenyl derivative it makes it easy for the nootropic to cross the blood-brain barrier and hence is doubly more effective than non-derivative GABA.
Many people use phenibut for various neurological ailments likes anxiety, memory loss, and insomnia. Since its discovery in 1960, it has found widespread usage for those particular afflictions especially in the Soviet Union where it was created first.
One common effect is that it almost immediately produces a feel of calm in the person that ingests it. This is because Phenibut binds itself certain receptors in the site of the brain that is responsible for slight sedative effects.
If I take Phenibut, How Soon Will I Build Tolerance?
When you are on a particular drug, tolerance develops over time during the course of consumption. This happens with any drug and varies greatly with the biology of the person concerned.
Phenibut being a very powerful stimulant can seem to lose efficacy from as early as a few days of daily use People have reported different lengths of time owing to different physical and mental attributes, lifestyle choices and other conditions.
As far as nootropics are concerned, it is a common and recommended practice to cycle between 2 nootropics that you know can work well for you. This ensures that your body cannot get used to them and hence prevent tolerance. Some people even cycle more than 2 for optimal efficiency and results.
Will it require me to change my lifestyle?
There are a few changes you need to make, but they will benefit you rather than detract from your peace of mind. Well, to be honest, you need to ask yourself this: are you willing to change for the better? If so you’ll glad you chose to stick with Phenibut.
Nootropics are much more effective when you eat right, sleep enough and get a bit of exercise. This is a proven method to give you better and more tangible benefits to your brain.
Also, it helps to exercise as that promotes better blood flow and rids of impurities in your body via sweating, which promotes nootropics to have a better effect on your system.
Where can I buy Phenibut? Is it legal?
Phenibut is legal in most places in the world and you can find them at your local drugstore. In countries like the US, it is sold as a supplement and it can be bought online from a number of different stores, such as Liftmode. Due to the potential dangers of Phenibut use, major retailers like Amazon, Walmart and GNC do not sell the drug.
The thing to note is, the legality of Phenibut depends on who you ask and where you live. In most countries, Phenibut is 100% legal to sell and buy.
Read more: Where To Buy Phenibut Locally
Read more: Where To Buy Phenibut Online
When is the best time to take Phenibut for anxiety?
This differs from drug to drug. But as a rule of thumb I generally take nootropics just after I wake up so as to give it the best chance of absorption.
But when it comes to something like Noopept, I take it 30-45 minutes before I get to work, as it mixes with the bloodstream faster than other nootropics.
So it is imperative that you go on a case by case basis when it comes to deciding the time to ingest them.
Do Nootropics have differing dosage levels?
This is something that is very important to how nootropics can affect you. Some people assume that what seems an ideal dose for Phenibut would be okay for Noopept also. But they couldn’t be more wrong! Noopept is very strong and targets a different area of the brain altogether.
In fact, I would even say the most nootropic-related dissatisfaction is due to the fact that people do not put a respectable amount of time with their research on ideal dosage levels for different drugs.
Are there any serious withdrawal symptoms I should be concerned about?
Emphatically YES. But, it depends on how long you’ve taken Phenibut, at what dosage, and most importantly – how frequently you take it. Ideally, if you take this nootropic over a one month period, but only take it once a week, then you should be fine. However, after just a week of daily use, you run the risk of experience brutal Phenibut withdrawal.
Also, make sure to take Phenibut at or near recommended dosages for someone of your bodyweight. This varies person to person, but here are some starting numbers to help calibrate the right dosage. As with every synthetic substance – nootropic or otherwise – and particularly with Phenibut, consult a doctor before taking it.
Can I drink booze and take Phenibut?
No. Although there are people who have reported increased fun factor and ability to make great conversations (especially if the user is extremely shy), I would recommend strictly against it. Just because it is okay for person A doesn’t mean it will be okay for B.
The human body – particularly our nervous system and anxiety response – is highly sophisticated and complex, which make it next to impossible to suggest a general interaction when it comes to nootropics and alcohol. So to err on the side of caution, I recommend not doing both at the same time.
If at all you forget that you took the drug, be mindful of the fact that Phenibut amplifies the effect of alcohol substantially – anywhere from 1.5 to 3 times as much. Consider yourself warned.
Read more: Can I mix Phenibut with other drugs?
Will this affect my Sleep-Cycle?
These are drugs that supercharge brain activity so the answer is yes. The solution though would be to consume it 8-10 hours before your bedtime. This will give the nootropic time to taper off.
After tapering off, you’ll actually have sound sleep as your brain has been working to near its maximum capacity. You’ll wake up fresh the next day, ready to take on the day!
Think of it like post-workout, you muscles maybe a bit sore, but the best thing you can do is get back on feet an hit the gym again.
Will Phenibut make me lose my appetite?
The way Phenibut works is that it’s both mildly stimulating and strongly anxiolytic. Think: very small doses of ritalin combined with Xanax. Everyone responds to Xanax differently (I personally get a small case of the munchies), but most people respond to stimulants the same way: their appetite goes down.
Same case with Phenibut, the mild stimulant effect is such that you forget you’re hungry and tend to skip a meals while feeling the effects.
But you won’t starve! You’ll only think of eating when you are really hungry. In fact, people with a tendency to munch between meals have reported that they don’t feel cravings anymore.
Is Phenibut going to affect my libido?
Not at all! In fact, many people have claimed that this increases sex drive. It does this through the release of dopamine in the brain which heightens all your senses.
Side note: some readers have reported that Phenibut, while increasing libido, delays orgasm.
Is Phenibut FDA Approved?
Phenibut is FDA approved as of 2015 and is available over the counter and for sale online.
What are side effects and concerns of Long Term Use?
As is the case with all drugs that act so powerfully, it is best you cycle Phenibut at the end of every month. And as far as daily use in concerned, your doctor should be able to help you out there as different physiologies react differently to something as potent as Phenibut.
If you keep it cycling then you don’t have to worry about long term side effects. Some of the common side effects due to not following proper dosing are headaches, excessive sweating, mood swings and stomach aches.
Prolonged use without consulting your doctor can result in extensive liver damage, so you are advised to get their opinion before you start or as early as possible.
Alternative Remedies for Anxiety and Depression
There are other alternative methods which can be used to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, but they do not have the potency of proper treatment.
These are mostly methods you can use to soothe yourself without having to ingest things which you are not comfortable doing or if you are a course of medicines that conflict with nootropic usage.
Cognitive Feedback Behavioral Therapy
This is a blanket term for a large number of related therapeutic processes formulated with the idea of soothing one’s mind and helping them resolve their internal conflicts.
This mainly consists of:
- Cognitive reappraisal
- Relaxation techniques
- Self-help groups
It must be noted that these are procedures that are not fully verifiable and their effects are not fully quantifiable. This is basically based on several user accounts that they have found these techniques helpful to ease their anxiety.
There are a variety of books and products that teach CBT for beginners.
I’ve used and recommend Sean Cooper’s system for overcoming social anxiety, which helped boost my confidence in conversation.
You can go here to check it out.
If you are inclined spiritually, then you might turn to various healing centers that are available which can help you sorting out your problems.
These might be expensive and in some cases offer no tangible benefits other than ‘feeling good’ which might dissipate quickly.
Laughter is the best medicine.
Tried and tested, one of the simplest ways you can feel better about yourself and also get to socialize with people who might have a more positive outlook towards life than yourself.
Comedy clubs are found in most places and are relatively cheap for their therapeutic value against depression and anxiety.
Sometimes you might find that a massage might set you on the right course for a less worrisome attitude about your problems.
There is also scientific data supporting this technique as better blood flow can help calm the body and relieve you of depressing and negative thoughts.
I hope that through this you have gained some valuable insights into one of the most prevalent mental afflictions of today.
As you can see, this is a real and there are people who have had nightmarish experiences with it. Hopefully, you can empathize with them now that you understand what they are feeling handling their anxiety and depression.
If you are one of those who tackle this problem every day, then hopefully this article has given you a few more ways to combat your demons.
Granted, it is not easy at first, but with enough self-belief and support you can accomplish what you might have only dreamed of before.
Always remember to focus only on the positive outcomes of any encounter. It’s not worth dwelling on any harsh and negative criticisms that are doled out to you over the course of your betterment.
So, chin up, soldier and let’s go out there and get a better you.