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How to deal with social anxiety

  • 11-12-2022 5:35pm

    I think I've always had a bit of social anxiety. I use to get very upset going to school as a child. I still get quite nervous if I have anything to go to even hate going to the doctor. I dread it all day.

    I feel like this is just probably how everyone is maybe? A few people I spoke to said they are the same but lately I've noticed if I'm out in a situation with alcohol Im drinking too much and I want to find a way to deal with my nerves without alcohol.

    What kind of options are there for anxiety? How do you deal with it? I want to completely quit drinking. I don't like how it makes me feel.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,429 ✭✭✭growleaves

    Look into exposure therapy. This will involve a program of doing the things you're afraid of - to get you more 'used to it' and over time you'll find it less scary. In your case you will be going out more, socialising more to acclimate yourself to it.

    Also I recommend prayer, though obviously a lot of people won't want that recommendation.

    I am not the type to faint

    When things are odd or things are quaint

  • Yes that is the kind of thing I'm thinking of.

    Im not religious but I do pray sometimes so thanks for that suggestion.

    I just want to go out and enjoy myself and not feel the need to drink in order to relax.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,175 ✭✭✭Stanford

    You basically have 3 options to deal with the issue:

    1. Get some Counselling to explore why you suffer from Social Anxiety
    2. See your GP, the newer antidepressants are indicated to treat Social Anxiety such as Prozac and Lexapro although you really should try option 1 above
    3. Get some counselling help to deal with the problem, find a therapist skilled in Cognitive Bevavioural Therapy which will give you coping skills.

    Good Luck

  • I wouldn't know where to start to get counselling and not sure of the cost or having the time. I would probably be anxious about going to the counselling sessions.

    I would like to try to avoid medication and I find doctors sometimes might be due to my anxiety..that I find it hard to express I don't explain or might play down how I'm feeling.

    I want something to become more self aware of my thought process. I've been trying to reflect more and I think some of my ways of thinking..for example I often assume people won't like me automatically, I prefer if someone thinks I'm bad at something and feel pressure if they think I'm good, I put myself down a lot, I am a people pleaser, I like to keep people at a distance, I always think people are better than me etc.

  • Posts: 0 ✭✭✭ Gemma Happy Hawk

    Alcohol might actually make your anxiety worse, in the long run, even if it helps you socialise.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,212 ✭✭✭wylo

    I would seriously consider a councellor for a few reasons:

    1. They are the very people you are “allowed” to be anxious with. You could start by emailing them and explaining in advance how difficult it might be.
    2. These things are very hard to figure out and solve by yourself. Simply not talking about things amplifies the problem itself. It’s a fact that your brain changes when you say things out loud and you’re being listened to.
    3. You sound genuinely motivated to solve what’s going on in your head which is always great for councelling work (some have no interest).

    Also, if one councilor is not working out, don’t rule out the idea in general. Try another.

  • I know ye. I only drink maybe once every two weeks but I don't like it anymore. I seem to get drunk very easily and I feel like crap the next day.

  • Thanks. Sometimes I think too much. I've been told that before so I wonder if I'm just nearly creating the issues but there is definitely something in my go to thought process, partially from previous experiences tbf but I need to find a way to be more positive to myself.

    Maybe everyone gets a little nervous anxiety? But I need to cut out drink.

    I'll look into the counselling.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,439 ✭✭✭SuperBowserWorld

    Yep. That's what alcohol does to you and it'll just make you more and more anxious.

    Just don't drink for a long while. Say no. Don't try to fit in by drinking alcohol.

    Lots of good recommendations above. I wouldn't try any medication until you're really tried other options.

    You are fine the way you are. Just say to people you are anxious at the moment. Just let it pass. There is nothing wrong with you. Also sleep and gentle exercise. Stay away from coffee, caffeine...

    Exhale slowly and say **** it !

  • Thankyou.

    I was feeling a bit teary there and your post really helped.

    I'm gonna try to look at booking a show or something like that and maybe go out for dinner instead of the pub.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,439 ✭✭✭SuperBowserWorld

    Yep. Good idea.

    Had to go to a birthday party recently in a pub, ex work people etc etc. Was worried about it as soon as I heard about it, plus I've a couple of big problems at the moment.

    I drove in as I was too late for public transport and I decided I didn't want to drink.

    Had non alcoholic beer which was fine. When people asked me how I was I said I'm ok, but I have this problem x, which I didn't go into.

    The night was absolutely fine and then I drove home and didn't have to deal with last bus shenanigans and lovely sleep and zero hangover the next day.

    Which was waaaaaaayyu better than bottling it all up, pretending, and getting drunk and feeling like absolute crap the next day.

  • Well done on going to the birthday and not drinking.

    I don't mind people asking why I'm not drinking but Im not sure I could sit out all night in a pub with everyone else getting drunk. Drunk people drive me insane 😛 Its just harder to talk, you can't hear half the time and I wouldn't want to dance.

  • Posts: 0 ✭✭✭ Gemma Happy Hawk

    Same. I'm getting too old for the big sessions! 😩

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,194 ✭✭✭Jarhead_Tendler

    The alcohol certainly won't help your anxiety. You are papering over the cracks is all and it is easy for once every 2 weeks to turn into once a week . Ofc that doesn't happen everybody. There are even free counselling services now. It might be worth making contact. The hard part will be finding a counsellor u click with. Don't put it off imo. I was totally against therapy until things got so bad that I had no choice really. 12 years later things are good. I also take medication but it was like a huge weight being lifted just talking to someone and telling them how I was feeling. Good luck with it

  • Registered Users Posts: 244 ✭✭mct1

    I've lived with social anxiety most of my life. But a bigger problem was my self-medicating with alcohol to 'ease' the stress of social situations. One day I decided 'that's enough' and learned to socialize without alcohol. No regrets at all. Also I find Buddhist meditation great for relaxation and coping with everyday problems and situations. If there's a group near you Im sure you'd find them very welcoming.

  • Registered Users Posts: 916 ✭✭✭harmless

    My take would be that you may have some deeper issues and have withdrawn from social situations in order to feel safe.

    The more you do this the more it reinforces in your brain that this is the best course of action. The only way to train the brain is with repetition, which would mean more exposure to social situations gradually. That could lead to some increased anxiety initially so taking it slow would be best. Try to recognise the really simple things you avoid and make a change there first.

    You should tell your GP and explain that you can not afford to see a private therapist. The HSE has its issues but they do have some good people working for them. You would have nothing to lose and could just stop going if you give it a real chance and think it is not working.

    If they recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy, I would say definietly give that a chance.

    About alcohol, when you drink you gain temporary relief for possible days of increased anxiety in return. If you can't stop at 2 - 3 drinks then it would be best to give it up for now.

    Also Christmas is probably the worst time of the year to have social anxiety so go easy on yourself, don't be too critical.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,041 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard

    I don't think it's helpful for you to try and convince yourself that "Ah sure everyone is like this" - they're not. Obviously loads of people suffer from social anxiety to varying degrees but it's far from universal and I think you're trying to tell yourself it's ubiquitous as a bit of a crutch.

    You've had some great advice above, you should definitely take it. Talking yourself out of counselling etc. because you're essentially too afraid to try is a cop-out. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it's true. If you want to change this - and it sounds like you do - it's going to take some effort and hard work from you. There's no magic pill, as you've discovered with alcohol.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,007 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78

    hardwired anxietor here being autistic, some great advice here, just stay away from alcohol, it truly doesnt work, and tends to amplify the problem. gp first port of call in regards counselling, find non alcohol related pass times, ideally stay away from alcohol related activities and environments, theres plenty out there, some great people out there, involved in great activities that doesnt involve alcohol in anyway. exercise exercise exercise, find physical activities you enjoy, and enjoy them well, and do them regularly, the chemical hits your brain will receive will help you greatly.

    best of luck

  • Registered Users Posts: 620 ✭✭✭PeaSea

    Learn 7/11 breathing as a tool to get you through situations; basically the 7 is the time taken to breathe in, the 11 is time taken to breathe out. By doing this since your out breath is longer than your in breath the chemicals in your brain that decide you need to be anxious are being told everythings OK. More here .

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,007 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78

    i do this as a part of yoga, tis very nice i must say....

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