In our article, CBT vs Social Anxiety Symptoms, we’ll take a closer look whether cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) can really help people who are suffering from anxiety.
Many feel anxious or nervous before a public performance or a social gathering. It’s common for individuals who are afraid of certain situations to avoid them, especially when they know that they could be uncomfortable or embarrassing. This makes them feel better about themselves and less anxious. This form of anxiety is also called social anxiety disorder or “SAD”.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a common, anxiety-related condition. One of the main symptoms of SAD is a constant feeling of anxiety. Typically, symptoms of SAD first appear in childhood and adolescence. The illness may lead to substance abuse and major depression. If left undiagnosed or untreated, this disorder can impair cognitive functions and affect quality of life.
Identifying Social Anxiety
Social anxiety is a mental health condition that is characterized by extreme and persistent feelings of nervousness, worry, and dread. It appears either in social situations or when you are thinking about going into a social situation.
Typically, SAD may make one:
- Believe that they would end up in an embarrassing situation
- Very sensitive towards what others would thing about them
- Feel self-conscious with others around
- Worried because they think that people would laugh or reject them if they try to befriend anybody
If you notice any of these key signs in you or someone you know, it might be time for seeking professional help.
Role of CBT in Managing SAD
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has shown promise as a treatment for social anxiety disorder.
According to a study conducted by the University of Zurich, the successful treatment for anxiety disorder involves changes in the key brain structures responsible for processing and regulating emotions. The stronger the changes, the better the results from the treatment.
Psychotherapy has proven effective for people suffering from social anxiety disorder. It helps patients to change their negative thinking patterns and normalize their brains to the anxiety they experience.
How does CBT work?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most effective treatment for SAD. CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder involves identifying and correcting negative thoughts that may be associated with social situations.
In a CBT session, the therapist works with the patient in a coaching role. It teaches the patient about how to respond in a given situation and guide them through how to behave appropriately and respectfully. The treatment is designed to help patients work through their phobias by giving them exposure to the things they fear.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approaches targeting specific maintenance factors or vulnerabilities of SAD patients have been found to be more effective in the treatment of social phobia. One CBT approach has a patient facing a situation in which he feels embarrassed or afraid to try something new and to make a mistake. To tackle his fears, the client must act according to his fear.
For example, to target the reluctance to inconvenience others and being the center of attention, she was asked to interrupt a group of people in a restaurant to practice a toast for a maid of honor speech. Similarly, to target her fear of being unintelligent, she was asked to request strangers in a bookstore to read the back cover of a book because she did not know how to read.
In simple words, CBT can help people with SAD identify negative thought patterns and replace them with positive but realistic affirmations. For example, a patient would learn to replace “Oh my God! I don’t fit here” with “I may not enjoy much here, but I needn’t think much about it.” Another example would include replacing “Others in the house are expecting me to do something wrong” with “People have their eyes on me but come on, I have other things to attend to.”
CBT also teaches you how to change the thinking process that triggers these feelings, which in turn, help the individual cope with them more effectively.
CBT can be administered in both group and individual therapy settings. The group therapy is a traditional approach that involves two therapists helping a group of four to six patients during a half hour session through 12 weeks.
In the individual treatment format, each patient is addressed for 1 hour each week, 2 hours at the end of the week for the most serious cases. vPatients in the program must attend the sessions for at least 14 weeks.
Group CBT allows patients to experience the actual effects of their anxiety without risking social rejection.
Conclusion: CBT vs Social Anxiety Symptoms
In our article we have shown that CBT works very well vs Social Anxiety Symptoms. If you are suffering from SAD, you definitely should consider a therapy!