Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy an Effective Treatment For Social Anxiety?

By Dana W. Talbott

Most therapists prefer using cognitive behavioral therapy as a treatment for social anxiety rather than medication. Anti-depressants and other forms of medication may be helpful in the beginning but over a period of time they often lose their effectiveness, not to mention they can have harmful side effects. Teaching patients to recognize the cause of their anxiety and how to cope with it is a much more effective, safer and longer lasting method of treatment.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is used to help people suffering from social anxiety recognize their fears or those things that occur in their life that trigger attacks. By helping these people learn to change their thinking patterns and gradually exposing them to situations that cause their anxiety, symptoms are alleviated.

How Does CBT Work?

Because CBT works by establishing a connection between a person’s thoughts and the effect they have on their behavior, CBT as a treatment for social anxiety differs from patient to patient. CBT focuses on using positive self-talk to counteract the effects of negative thoughts.

For example, some people who suffer from social anxiety have the irrational thought that every time they’re in a crowd of people at the movie theater all of those people are staring at them. They become anxious before they even leave the house to go to the theater. By using positive self-talk and reminding themselves that people are going to the theater to watch a movie, not THEM, they can diminish and eventually eliminate that anxiety.

Because most people have more that one situation that triggers an anxiety attack CBT teaches them how to watch for and identify triggers and then develop a positive mental message that addresses each situation. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most successful and long lasting treatment for social anxiety.

Dana Talbott is a writer and researcher on social anxiety treatment. She provides honest reviews and free advice on the subject of treatment for anxiety and more. Check out her blog today!

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