Updated on 04/17/08
Social anxiety disorder can be far more crippling than normal shyness. Experts offer these tips on how to overcome the symptoms.
Take slow, deep breaths. Hyperventilating can cause panic attacks.
Prepare to be social. If you're worried about having nothing to say at a party or on a date, first read up on the news or see a movie.
Speak up. Consider joining an organization like Toastmasters, where speaking to groups is encouraged.
Get help. Some anxiety in public situations is normal, but when it becomes debilitating, seek out a mental health professional.
Challenge yourself. Preparatory counseling beforehand can help you dispel your negative response to entering a stressful setting.
Medication is an option. Psychiatrists may prescribe a combination of talk therapy and medication, which can include antidepressants, beta blockers, or benzodiazepines.