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Question
Posted by: Samantha | 2012-06-29

Social Phobia

I have social phobia. I have had this condition for as long as I can remember and although I have made great strides improving myself, I still do not feel completely comfortable in my abilities. I used to abuse alcohol to give me confidence and I have joined the AA where I admitted that I am an alcholic and have been sober for 2 years. I constantly have to share at meetings and although I have done so many times before it still freaks me out. I would like to have the confidence to believe in myself and not question my abilities and drive myself insane when I am placed in the spotlight. What can I do to improve my condition, should I see a CBT phychologist or would I just be wasting my time?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Hi Samantha,
Its more common than people think, for alcoholism and/or addiction to prescription or over-the-counter meds to arise from people trying to self medicate for social phobia and other anxiety disorders. And for social phobia in particular, of course, though AA can be very useful in giving up alcohol, the structure of the program and its meetings are not at all ideal. So youve done admirably well so far.
Medications of the sort also used to treat depression, can help to reduce the anxiety very usefully. But I think CBT, as a therapy specifically suited to changing the behaviours and automaic thoughts underlying this condition, is especially to be recommended.
It'll also enable you to attend AA and indeed any meeting, without freaking out, and to enjoy taking part and speaking freelly whenever you wish to do so. Its also an adaptable method which could help with self-confidence in the broader sense. You would surely not be wasting your time !

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

2
Our users say:
Posted by: Liza | 2012-06-29

Have you ever used the tried and trusted ''Imagine-the-audience-naked'' method of controlling your anxiety when talking in front of people? I''ve used it with great success.

Unfortunately social anxiety isn''t just about having difficulty talking to an audience - you also have problems in other areas - like becoming panicky purely when in the presence of too many people. I know that I used to totally freak out in the shops when there were too many people around me. An invasion of my personal space was extremely traumatic to me. Having my personal space invaded is still upsetting, but I can calm myself down without dropping everything and making a bee-line for the exit.

CBT works really well. I''d definitely recommend it and it won''t be a waste of time as long as you continually practice the techniques taught through CBT. At first it will seem like there is little improvement, but practice does make perfect and the positive effects tend to start snow-balling. And best of all - there are no side-effects!

Good Luck
Liza

Reply to Liza
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012-06-29

Hi Samantha,
Its more common than people think, for alcoholism and/or addiction to prescription or over-the-counter meds to arise from people trying to self medicate for social phobia and other anxiety disorders. And for social phobia in particular, of course, though AA can be very useful in giving up alcohol, the structure of the program and its meetings are not at all ideal. So youve done admirably well so far.
Medications of the sort also used to treat depression, can help to reduce the anxiety very usefully. But I think CBT, as a therapy specifically suited to changing the behaviours and automaic thoughts underlying this condition, is especially to be recommended.
It'll also enable you to attend AA and indeed any meeting, without freaking out, and to enjoy taking part and speaking freelly whenever you wish to do so. Its also an adaptable method which could help with self-confidence in the broader sense. You would surely not be wasting your time !

Reply to cybershrink

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