For writing the work, five sources were selected. Two of them are the basic and another three are additional ones. The first main source of the article entitled Build Your Social Confidence: A Social Anxiety Group for College Students. This work has data on social anxiety among US students and provides information about the group therapy. The article also considers the Heimberg and Becker’s CBGT model, protection of personality theory and interpersonal process components.
The second major source is called Exercise for the Treatment of Depression and Anxiety. This paper provides valuable information about the methods of treatment and prevention of social anxiety, including among college students. The authors rely on physical activity, emphasizing its benefits for the prevention and treatment of disease. At the same time, the authors also propose some other ways. For example, increased socialization, relaxation, social engagement and so on.
Social anxiety attracted the attention of researchers in different fields. For example, researchers of etiology study shyness, representatives of the psychology of personality and social psychology study shyness and social anxiety as a state and as a trait, clinical psychologists, and psychiatrists study social phobia as a diagnostic category. However, they all agree that social anxiety is one of the most common psychological disorders. Anxiety disorders significantly affect the quality of human life. College students are exposed to social anxiety more than others are. It violates the student’s functioning in the educational, social and family environment and causes permanent psychological discomfort. Therefore, it is necessary to know the methods of treatment of social anxiety. This paper examines the main and most effective treatments for this disorder.
Group therapeutic methods for the treatment of social anxiety include role-playing and practicing social skills as part of a therapeutic group. Group therapy for social anxiety also may include acting, recording and monitoring, testing and special training exercises to practice situations that cause anxiety or fear in the real world. Consultant psychologist can improve social skills, and self-esteem of the student, as well as teach him/her relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing.
Joining a group of strangers, it may seem daunting at first glance, but group therapy has many advantages that make it the most effective treatment for social anxiety. The group can act as a circular support and friendly advice. Other members of the group help to see ideas for improvement of the difficult situation and the problem that seems unresolved. In addition, regularly talking and listening to others, the group helps the student to look at his/her problems from the side, as modern students often feel lonely and try to deal with their feelings alone.
Systematic desensitization is one of the most effective methods, which is applicable to overcome social anxiety, especially among students. In fact, the more a student avoids dangerous social situations, the more frightening they become for him/her. Avoidance prevents students from taking actions they would like to make in order to achieve certain goals. For example, fear of public speaking may interfere them to speak to the class successfully, the fear of communicating with the educator during a lecture reduces the quality of education, and the fear of being in the company of strangers is an obstacle to new acquaintances.
It may seem impossible, but psychologists proved that systematic desensitization could overcome the fear of social situations quickly and efficiently. The secret of this method lies in the fact that students constantly but gradually increase their anxiety, and each step that corresponds to a particular situation causes fear. Then, with the help of a psychologist, students get rid of the fear in each situation.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
It has been shown that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) works perfectly in the case of the treatment of social anxiety among students. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the premise that what people think affects the way they are feeling, and their feelings affect behavior. Therefore, if a student changes the way of thinking, he/she will feel better and act more confident. Most often, the CBT is conducted in several courses with the help of a psychologist or psychotherapist. In the course of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, the student will be able to see all his/her beliefs on the part of and decide whether to continue to adhere to them or try to change something.
Despite the growing popularity of healthy lifestyle, only a small part of today’s students involved in sports. At the same time, researchers have proven that a weak physical activity can cause social anxiety. In addition, any mental disorder adversely affects the physical activity. Researchers believe that exercise is an excellent treatment for social anxiety. Sports activates the brain, restores the biological rhythms and metabolism, and improves blood circulation in the whole body. Also, physical activity often increases socialization and develops communication skills, increases motivation and encourages the person to a new achievement. Exercise distracts students from the negative thoughts, customizes his or her on positive thinking. However, the external stimulus is needed to ensure that the student with social anxiety has started to exercise. Consequently, prior consultation with the therapist is required in many cases.
Medications are used sometimes to relieve the symptoms of social anxiety, but it is not an effective way to treat social anxiety. If a student stops taking the drug, the symptoms are likely to be back in full force. Medications may be useful in addition the common therapy because it is possible to eliminate the root causes of social anxiety only with psychotherapy. Moreover, antidepressant drugs often have additives that cause addiction. The use of such drugs is extremely undesirable for college students as the risk of depending is too high at this age.
Treatment with medication is possible thanks to the three types of drugs. The first type is beta-blockers, which are used to reduce anxiety. They block the production of adrenaline, which occurs during anxiety. While beta-blockers have no effect on the emotional symptoms, they can help control the physical symptoms such as tremor, sweating, and rapid heartbeat. The second type is antidepressants that can be useful when the student’s social anxiety is debilitating. As has already been said, these drugs must be used in conjunction with psychotherapy. The third type is a benzodiazepine. This is a fast-acting anti-anxiety medication. However, it is addictive sedative and therefore it is usually assigned only when other drugs do not work.
In summary, the prognosis for students with social anxiety is highly dependent on the correct prescribed treatment. Many students are able to significantly improve their condition and enjoy a productive life and education. Unfortunately, social anxiety disorder cannot be prevented, but it is always possible to choose the methods for relieving symptoms of the disease. The most common ways of treatments were analyzed in the research paper. This is group therapy, the systematic desensitization, cognitive behavioral therapy, exercises, and the use of drugs. Students, being socialized active people, exposed to the disease more often. However, they can cure social anxiety as fast as it was acquired. In addition, the above methods may be used in combination with each other to improve the efficiency of treatment.