Social anxiety disorder sometimes referred to as social phobia, can cause individuals to feel an overwhelming amount of anxiety during social interactions or when thinking about social interactions. This anxiety is typically described as a feeling of self-consciousness, perceived judgment from others, or feeling that you are being scrutinized by others.

With this particular disorder, it does not matter whether the other individual is a close friend or a complete stranger, as the feelings of judgment and anxiety will remain at the same level of intensity, which can make daily activities quite challenging. Fortunately, developing proper coping mechanisms with help from Dr. Ashley Gardner can work to relieve these anxious thoughts and feelings before they escalate and affect daily functioning.

Common Characteristics and Symptoms

Those with a social anxiety disorder may appear shy, quiet, and withdrawn. It is not that these individuals wish to avoid interactions or relationships with others, they just have more difficulty cultivating them due to their social anxiety.

There is no one clear cause of social anxiety, though the disorder does seem to be influenced, at times, by difficulty with social skills, misreading of facial signals and body positioning from others, and a family history of a social phobia which points to a possible genetic contribution.

Symptoms of social anxiety disorder can be experienced in a variety of common situations, such as:

  • New introductions
  • Going to school or work
  • Speaking, writing, or talking on the phone in public
  • Being the focus of a conversation or event
  • Meeting authoritative figures
  • Dating
  • Being observed during a type of test or presentation
  • Eating in front of others
  • Making eye contact

Individuals with social anxiety often react to uncomfortable situations with a series of uncontrollable physical reactions such as blushing, fidgeting, sweating, rapid heartbeat, stiff posture, speaking softly, or becoming nauseous. These symptoms can be incredibly frustrating, as many with social anxiety disorder are able to logically realize that nothing bad is likely to happen to them in a triggering situation, but they experience these common reactions regardless.

Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder with You First Telehealth

Fortunately, social anxiety disorder is treatable. Symptoms can be properly managed throughout the individual’s life with help from a mental health specialist.


Melaine Ndi (You First Telehealth) is able to assist patients in managing their symptoms of social anxiety through psychotherapy or “talk therapy” to thoroughly discuss triggering situations and then develop a way to cope with them in a healthy way. Psychotherapy can be helpful in helping patients to realize what their triggers are, how they can cope with them, and how they can reduce the severity of their reactions to triggers.


Medications are frequently prescribed to individuals with anxiety disorders. Certain medications may work better for one person than another, which is often dependent on the specific symptoms they experience, and the severity of those symptoms. Of these many types of medication, there are three primary categories that You First Telehealth is likely to consider when giving a prescription for a patient with social anxiety:

  • Anti-anxiety medications: There are several options for anti-anxiety medications, some that are used long-term and some for short-term usage. Meliane will work with you to determine if one of these medications may be a good fit. Generally, benzodiazepines such as Valium, Xanax, Ativan, or Klonopin are not first-line treatments as these may ultimately lead to worsening anxiety over time and dependence/tolerance to these medications.
  • Beta-blockers: Usually used for individuals with performance anxiety, beta-blockers can help to reduce physical symptoms and reactions to social anxiety.
  • Antidepressants: These medications come in many different forms, and often take a few weeks to achieve their full effect. Clear communication with Melaine about antidepressant medications is important, as their effects can vary from person to person and not all types are suitable for each individual.

Online Treatment Options for Social Anxiety

Melaine also offers telepsychiatry, allowing you to receive treatment from the comfort of your own home. Learn more about our telepsychiatry services!

Support Groups

Even though interactions with others often cause significant anxiety for those with a social phobia, these reactions can be significantly less intense in a group of individuals who have been diagnosed with the same disorder. By opening up and sharing with those in a similar situation, patients can begin to practice and develop healthy social skills and habits in a low-risk environment.


Schedule an Appointment for Testing & Treatment in Texas and Washington State

No two patients are alike, which is why Melaine takes an individualized approach to each patient she treats. If you have been struggling to focus in school, at work, and at home please call (469) 389-0960.