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Fixing “Shyness”: Medicinal Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher who writes about various subjects, including education and creative writing.


A Treatment for “Shyness”

Shyness (as anxiety disorders are commonly called) is not often associated with a personality disorder. And, for that matter, the idea that there’s medication for such things may strike some as being odd. However, a severe form known as social anxiety disorder is recognized as personality disorder. In addition, it’s a condition that can hamper one’s ability to live a normal life.

This condition can be treated. There are three ways to do this. They are:

  • therapy in which the patients work with therapists;
  • prescribed medication or
  • a combination of the two.

The idea that medication is a treatment for this condition may be surprising. Then again, the condition that’s often associated with shyness is a lot more than that what it appears to be.

What is Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder – also known as Social Phobia -- is a condition that can affect a person for a lifetime. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (AADA), the condition is characterized by intense and unreasonable anxiety in which one fears:

  • being judged by others;
  • negative evaluations; and
  • social rejections

It may hinder his or her ability to interact with others or to take chances and risks. While fear, an emotion, is a primary symptom, it is not the only one.

the condition reported by some sufferers as being unavoidable. Many feel helpless to the anxiety it produces.

According to AADA, In many cases, the person with social anxiety disorder may have physical symptoms such as:

  • rapid heartbeat,
  • nausea, and
  • Sweating

In extreme cases, they may have momentary paralysis. Also, the condition is reported by some sufferers as being unavoidable. Many feel helpless to the anxiety it produces.

This particular condition is part of a wide array of conditions known as anxiety disorders. Many sites about this condition may list five to six different conditions. One site, WebMD lists 12 different types. This is atypical from sites; however, if there is one constant in all these lists, social anxiety disorder is recognized as one of them.

More Severe Than Shyness

Anxiety disorder, including social anxiety disorder, are commonly characterized as social avoidance or being uncomfortable in a social setting. In many respects, the public may label this condition as “shyness.”

Shyness is best characterized as an “emotion that affects how a person feels and behaves around others” such as feeling

  • uncomfortable,
  • self-conscious,
  • nervous,
  • bashful,
  • timid, or
  • insecure

Social anxiety disorder are these, except with more intensity. In fact, the condition can be crippling, both emotionally and physically.

As an example, the affects of social anxiety can be observed among school children. Recent research indicates that anxiety disorders, especially social anxiety, can affect the way students learn and perform in a school setting. In fact, there’s been an increase in this condition among students with special needs in the last year (see graph). Due to this increase, its not uncommon to see it listed in the individual education plan (IEP) for students with special needs.

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Another aspect that makes social anxiety disorder complex is that there are no definite causes for it. There have been culprits such as genetics and environmental or social/cultural factors such as family upbringing.

There is also evidence that some anxiety disorders may be the result of trauma. This is particularly true for one such condition within the anxiety disorder umbrella known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). the trauma can be abuse, both verbal, sexual or physical.

Indications are that various forms of anxiety disorders are caused by different factors or a combination of various factors. As a result, treatments may differ per diagnosis or person. In addition, one form of treatment will not be enough.

Medication Treatment

There are several types of medication that have proven to be effective. Still, doctors and specialists prescribing these drugs indicate that it is important that the individuals take them as instructed. In addition, doctors and patients must work together to find the right medication. This may involve a trial-and-error approach.

According to, there are three types of medications used to treat this condition. They are:

  • Beta blockers: used for relieving performance anxiety.
  • Antidepressants: for severe and debilitating forms of the condition.
  • Benzodiazepines: a fast-acting anti-anxiety medication.

According to the website, Help-guide.Org, beta blockers work by blocking the flow of adrenaline that occurs when a sufferer is anxious. This form of medication helps control the physical symptoms (shaking hands, voice, sweating and rapid heartbeat) of social anxiety disorder. Still, the drugs associated with this type of medication don’t affect the emotional symptoms.


Antidepressants, on the other hand, tend to focus on the emotional aspect of this condition. Three antidepressants, Paxil, Effexor, and Zoloft, have been the most popular types prescribed for social anxiety disorder.

Of these antidepressants, those known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are considered to be the safest and most effective treatment for social anxiety disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic Website, these are:

  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Paxil CR);
  • Sertraline (Zoloft);
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox, Luvox CR); and
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, others).

Another form, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) are used as first-line therapy. This includes the drug venlafaxin (Effexor, Effexor XR).

The third type of medication, Benzodiazepine, may work fast; however, there are side effects. The drug can be sedating and addictive. This is often prescribed when other forms of medications don’t work.

Medication and Therapy Combination

Medication and therapy often go together in certain situations. In fact, a therapist may prescribe the medication in accordance with psychotherapy.

According to Mayo Clinic’s website, treatment is not instantaneous. Various forms of treatment such as psychotherapy or medication may have to be tried before one or two combinations will work. Still, once the right treatment is found, a sufferer of this condition can make strides in several weeks of months.

Social anxiety disorder is often characterized by intense fear of certain social situations. Sometimes the fear can be so intense that a sufferer can get anxious just thinking about it ( 2010).

As a result, the sufferer may avoid situations – especially when things are unfamiliar or there’s a chance he or she will be scrutinized and judged by others, or be embarrassed in public.

The condition may fade in intensity over time. In other cases, the symptoms can wax or wane for the rest of the sufferer’s life.

Social anxiety disorder may be viewed as intense shyness; however, it is a personality disorder that can have profound effects on the health and well being of the individuals with it. There are no cures for it. But, treatment will make like easier.

Originally posted by Huffpost. There appears to be a correlation between COVID 19 and the rise of anxiety disorders being reported. It's undetermined if a majority of these cases are social anxiety disorders.

Originally posted by Huffpost. There appears to be a correlation between COVID 19 and the rise of anxiety disorders being reported. It's undetermined if a majority of these cases are social anxiety disorders.

Work Cited

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Dean Traylor

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