When you’re struggling with social anxiety—whether that’s diagnosed social anxiety disorder or more generalized symptoms—coping with your symptoms can seem impossible. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5), symptoms of social anxiety disorder include disproportionate anxiety levels, persistent fear of negative judgment or embarrassment in social situations, and a level of this anxiety that interferes with your daily life.
With a formal anxiety disorder or symptoms alone, it’s no surprise that these can create a feeling of hopelessness. However, your condition doesn’t have to stand between you and a happy, healthy lifestyle. With the right coping mechanisms and treatment options in place, you can cope with social anxiety and thrive despite it.
Consult a professional about your options.
When you’re suffering from these sorts of symptoms, it’s worth talking to a professional to see what can be done in terms of conventional treatment. Seek out a resource like the Therapy Group of Charlotte to find a licensed mental health professional who can diagnose and treat your potential medical condition. If you’re hoping to utilize prescription medication or psychotherapy like cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), you’ll need to be working with a qualified mental health provider.
A therapist, psychiatrist, or another type of licensed professional can determine whether your symptoms are part of social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder like GAD, or another condition and what can be done to help you begin feeling better.
Find tools that help ease your symptoms.
While nearly anyone can benefit from scheduling an appointment with a psychiatric professional, it’s not always an accessible option. If you’re not able to visit a therapist or other provider, or are looking for ways to supplement more conventional treatment, consider seeking out other tools that can help you feel better. For instance, you might reach out to your doctor about whether an option like CBD might be beneficial in your circumstance, and that it’s safe to use with any medication you might take.
The best CBD for anxiety, including social anxiety, will depend in part on your needs. CBD, or cannabidiol, comes in a variety of forms, flavors, dosages, and potencies. One CBD product might work better for one user than another—perhaps one person finds CBD oil best eases the side effects of their prescription medication (with their doctor’s approval) while another might turn to a tincture, capsule, or gummy for an alternative option.
Others might prefer hemp or a THC product (other types of cannabinoids) rather than a CBD gummy or other option. The difference might be as simple as using a certain mg of CBD. While even the best CBD oil can’t cure mental illness, it can help alleviate your distress despite that condition.
Create positive opportunities for exposure.
In addition to your medical treatment, there are alternative ways you can begin to cope with social anxiety. Many professionals recommend exposure therapy as a treatment option for social anxiety disorder, and it’s a general concept you can apply to your life on a more do-it-yourself level. Begin facing your fears with baby steps towards a less anxious state.
If you can visit a support group with others suffering from similar social discomfort, you’ll know that everyone there is struggling with the same sorts of fears. Alternatively, you might look toward a social environment where you share a particular interest with the people around you, whether that’s a club, activity, or other organization. In these cases, you’ll always have at least one topic you can mention to make the conversation flow more smoothly.
Social anxiety and anxiety disorders more broadly can inevitably impact a patient’s life, and that’s rarely a positive effect. By working with a mental health professional, utilizing alternative treatment options like CBD (be it an oil or another CBD product), and taking small steps towards a healthier relationship with social situations, you can learn to better cope with your social anxiety symptoms and give yourself a higher quality of life.