I think I have Social Anxiety Disorder. What do I do now?
Social Anxiety Disorder is a treatable medical illness. It is important to see your doctor if you think you have Social Anxiety Disorder. Make sure you tell your doctor about all your symptoms. Your doctor will want to give you a thorough physical examination to rule out the possibility of any physical illnesses. Once it has been determined that your symptoms are not caused by any other physical illness, your doctor will inform you of the different treatments available to treat Social Anxiety Disorder.
It is important to be honest with your doctor about any drugs or alcohol you may be using. Often people with Social Anxiety Disorder will use these substances to help them cope with their anxiety when they have to perform or go to a social setting. It is important to understand that drugs and alcohol can often make the anxiety even worse.
A word about Suicide
The anxiety and distress of Social Anxiety Disorder can be so severe that some people think about hurting themselves or committing suicide. These thoughts can be very dangerous, especially if you are going through an episode of depression. If you have had these thoughts or are having them now, see your doctor immediately. Help is available.
It is important to realize that thinking about suicide is not shameful; it is part of the illness. Share all of these thoughts with your doctor. He/she can help you through this period and give you medications that will ease the pain and make you feel better or he/she may recommend psychological therapy to help you discuss your situation.