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Don’t Turn to Alcohol to Treat Social Anxiety: Try These 5 Alternatives Instead

Millions of people live with social anxiety. It can be a debilitating condition that often leaves people opting out of social situations just to avoid its effects. Many people turn to alcohol to alleviate the symptoms of social anxiety and help them interact with other people more comfortably. Though that can be an effective option to an extent, its long-term consequences are anything but helpful. There are healthier and more successful ways of dealing with social anxiety.

Professional Intervention

One of the most effective ways to deal with social anxiety is to see a therapist. If you’ve come to depend on alcohol to help with the condition, detox for substance abuse may also be an essential part of your treatment plan. Either way, therapy can help you overcome the condition.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is particularly helpful for social anxiety. It helps people identify the irrational fears and thought patterns that cause them to avoid social situations. From there, it gives them the tools they need to look at those situations differently and overcome their fears.

Herbal Supplements

Some people find herbal supplements to be a helpful remedy for social anxiety. Chamomile is one option. It’s known to calm the nerves and help people relax. That being said, it can put you to sleep, so use it in moderation. Lavender and passionflower may soothe anxiety as well. L-theanine and certain forms of magnesium may also be effective. Those are only a few examples; several natural supplements are said to reduce stress and anxiety.

Relaxation Techniques

At the same time, using relaxation techniques can be beneficial for battling social anxiety. Deep breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation are common options here. They can reduce stress and fear while helping you mentally prepare for social situations. If you start experiencing the symptoms of anxiety, such as shaking, hyperventilating, heart palpitations, and nausea, while you’re in a crowd, they can aid in calming you down. Just escape to a quiet place, such as a restroom or your car, and take a moment to use these techniques to your benefit.

Exercise

Quite a few studies have shown that exercise can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Physical activity triggers the body to release endorphins, which are feel-good hormones. They, in turn, counteract the hormones that exacerbate stress and anxiety. You can use exercise as a distraction if anxiety starts to set in, but it also works over the long term. Its effects last well after your exercise routine is over.  Many people argue that exercise just makes you too tired to feel anxious. Either way, if it works, that’s what’s truly important.

Baby Steps

Another thing to keep in mind is that social anxiety doesn’t just disappear. There’s no magic remedy that stops it in its tracks. Overcoming it is a gradual process even with help from the alternatives mentioned here. While you’re trying these non-alcoholic techniques for dealing with social anxiety, ease yourself into social situations. You could start off by going to a small cafe or a boutique shop. Work your way up to a more crowded restaurant or a busy department store, and so forth. Baby steps are the key to success.

Dealing With Social Anxiety the Healthy Way

Social anxiety is a common issue. Many people turn to alcohol to help them deal with it, but that’s not the best option. It can actually cause more anxiety in the long run. There are healthier ways to overcome social anxiety, including exercise, relaxation techniques, and herbal supplements. Therapy is also a highly effective solution. Along the way, take baby steps to help you gradually become more comfortable in social situations.

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