Social anxiety can wreak havoc on your life, making you nervous at social functions, out in public, and even just at work. When you feel uncomfortable trying to make small talk with others, you may find yourself opting to just hide out at home instead. Unfortunately, you may also crave human interaction and find yourself lonely, yet unable to force yourself to go out and keep trying to interact with other people. It can be a vicious cycle of craving what you feel you cannot accomplish, and it can really wear you down over time.
Often all that is needed is a prescription for anxiety medication. Whether you need it every day or only for stressful situations like office holiday parties, the right prescription anxiety drug can help you relax and calm your nerves so that you can socialize with friends, family, or co-workers. Other times you may need talk therapy, in which a counselor familiar with social anxiety helps you work through your fears. Group therapy can be helpful as well, because you learn that you are not alone in your situation and that others often feel the same way. It can also help you learn coping strategies from other anxiety sufferers who have learned to overcome their social phobia.
If you have tried all of the above methods and still suffer from severe social anxiety, you may want to evaluate your underlying attitude toward therapy. Have you tried and failed in social situations so many times that you have begun to believe there is nothing that can help? If you find yourself giving up on getting better, and just accepting that you will never be able to go out in public without serious fear and stress, you may be suffering from learned helplessness. When you no longer believe anything can help you, you will not be fully committed to giving therapy and coping mechanisms a fair chance to work. If you find yourself in this situation, you may need to commit to more extensive therapy, so that you can first learn to believe your situation can be changed. Only then will the other tools you have learned become effective.