What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat social anxiety disorder include Paxil, Zoloft, and Effexor XR. Your healthcare provider may start you with a low dose of medication and gradually increase your prescription to avoid side effects.

Common side effects of these medications include:

  • insomnia (sleeplessness)
  • weight gain
  • upset stomach
  • lack of sexual desire

Talk to your health care provider about the benefits and risks to decide which treatment is right for you.

Outlook for Social Anxiety Disorder

According to the ADAA, about 36 percent of people with social anxiety don’t speak to a healthcare provider until they have had symptoms for at least 10 years.

People with social phobia may rely on drugs and alcohol to cope with anxiety triggered by social interaction. Left untreated, social phobia can lead to other high-risk behaviors, including:

  • alcohol and drug abuse
  • loneliness
  • thoughts of suicide

The outlook for social anxiety is good with treatment. Therapy, lifestyle changes, and medication can help many people cope with their anxiety and function in social situations.

Social phobia doesn’t have to control your life. Although it may take weeks or months, psychotherapy and/or medication can help you begin to feel calmer and more confident in social situations.