Ask The Expert
December 28, 2010
I can never be sure what it means for a person to overcome something “on his own.”
It’s admirable to overcome problems by yourself. Men, much more than women, want to take this approach. That’s because men, on average, feel a deeper sense of shame or embarrassment about showing their problems or vulnerabilities to other people.
Avoiding the help of others, however, could be part of the problem. The fear of being humiliated, embarrassed or judged by others is one of the key features of social anxiety.
So, although it is possible to overcome social anxiety without help, I don’t recommend it. The treatments for the problem are very good. You will have a much easier go of it, and are much more likely to solve the problem, with help.
About 75% to 80% of people with this problem overcome their fears or find relief from:
Those are pretty good odds.
The kind of help you’ll want depends on the nature of the problem. If your nervousness comes up in specific anxiety-provoking situations, such as speaking up in a meeting, you may be able to take a medication that controls the physical symptoms of anxiety. (These symptoms include heart pounding or trembling hands.) If the social anxiety is more general, psychotherapy is often quite helpful, as are antianxiety medicines.
I appreciate the impulse to take responsibility for your problems. But, in this case, asking for help may be the best way for you to meet that responsibility and accomplish your goals.