A social phobia, mostly mistaken to be just “shyness,” is a constant fear of social situations. The U.S. National Institutes of Health has found that around 15 million people suffer from a social anxiety disorder.
Social phobia is a worse condition than people think, and even though there are several pills made especially to help sufferers of social anxiety or social phobia, researchers have raised questions as to whether talk therapy may be a more effective method in treating social phobia, rather than anti-anxiety drugs.
According to the study that was recently conducted on the subject by the UK/U.S. team of The Lancent Psychiatry, talk therapy is more effective than drugs for treating social anxiety or social phobia. This is what they had to say on the subject:
”Medication should be used only when psychological treatments are turned down.”
Indeed, it is true that medication was introduced to be used when other treatments did not work or were not effective in any way. Here is more of what was said regarding the study:
“Social anxiety is more than just shyness. The good news from our study is that social anxiety is treatable. Now that we know what works best, we need to improve access to psychotherapy for those who are suffering,” stated Dr. Evan Mayo-Wilson, of the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a co-researcher on the study.
It is right for the sufferers to be getting this option now since social phobia tends to affect their performance in every aspect of life, including their love life. As Dr. Mayo-Wilson explained, “People with this disorder can experience severe impairment, from shunning friendships to turning down promotions at work that would require increased social interaction.”
He also described the phobia thus: “It’s a fear of social situations that’s so strong it interferes with people’s education, or ability to work or have relationships.”
The point of introducing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is to help sufferers of the condition to bring a change in their thought patterns and to learn how to respond in a better way to situations they fear. Mayo-Wilson and his team also think behavioral therapy should be offered as the first option for treating social phobia. However, different researchers and psychologists raised issues regarding talk therapy, saying many people would not be able to afford it or get their insurance to cover it.
Mayo-Wilson’s response to this was that talk therapy is a type of therapy that lends itself to self-help techniques, online or otherwise, and that people suffering from social phobia can be offered feedback from a qualified therapist through the phone, by email, or in a couple of group sessions. Many people are now feeling hopeful after finding that talk therapy often is, indeed, more effective than drugs for treating social phobia.