Living With Social Anxiety Disorder

Anxious and sad woman outside

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Living with social anxiety disorder (SAD) can be devastating to daily functioning. Usually, people go many years without a diagnosis of SAD and over time develop poor ways of coping (but don't beat yourself up—you did the best you could!).

Whether you are still struggling, have just been diagnosed, are entering treatment, or having a relapse, the following tips can help keep you on the path toward management of your symptoms.

Getting Help

Without proper treatment, social anxiety disorder can be chronic and severely impair your quality of life. Unfortunately, the nature of the disorder means that you are a person who is afraid to ask for help.

If even approaching a friend, family member or your doctor seems too overwhelming, try writing down your thoughts instead and either mailing a letter, sending an email, or handing over a letter in person.

The following articles will help you through this process. Learn how to get help for SAD and how to find an anxiety therapist. If you want to talk to your own doctor, get tips for talking to your doctor about social anxiety disorder. Finally, learn more about obstacles to getting help.

Social Anxiety Disorder Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide to help you ask the right questions at your next doctor's appointment.

Mind Doc Guide

SAD and Your Career

A strong relationship has been found between social anxiety disorder and lower educational attainment, reduced employment opportunities, lower income, and dependence on social assistance. Applying for a job, going for an interview, managing work-related social tasks, and speaking in front of others are all aspects of jobs that can trigger social anxiety.

If you are currently employed, be aware of the best ways to manage SAD in the workplace. Learn how to tell your employer about your condition and cope with work meetings and business lunches (if you're afraid to eat in front of other people).

If you're currently looking for a job, get tips for coping with job interview anxiety.


Although no substitute for proper diagnosis and treatment, the use of self-help strategies may offer some control over your symptoms and allow you to be an active participant in the recovery process.

The following self-help strategies may help to reduce your anxiety:

You can also try one of these social skills self-help books.

Stories of Others

Reading stories about other people that are living with social anxiety disorder will help to make you feel less alone. Start by taking a look at some of these blogs about social anxiety disorder.


SAD can affect your relationships with significant others, friends, and family. It can affect your ability to make friends and to find a romantic partner. It can even negatively affect those who are closest to you, as they try to help you deal with your anxiety symptoms.

If you want to learn to cope with the impact of social anxiety disorder on your own relationships. learn about finding love, how to ask someone on a date, and how to cope with your SAD when you're getting married.

If you're a friend or family member of someone coping with SAD, learn what you can do to help, how to cope yourself, and how to help your teenager if they have social anxiety disorder.

Social Skills

Some people who have SAD also suffer from a deficit in social skills. Fortunately, social skills can be learned as part of a social skills training program sometimes incorporated with treatment.

There are also many strategies that you can use on your own to improve your social skills. Learn about making eye contact, how to get through conversations with others, managing party anxiety, making telephone calls, accepting compliments, and being more assertive.

Handling Performance Anxiety

Performances can take many forms: public speaking, athletic competitions, and even musical events. If you suffer from social anxiety disorder and are involved in some sort of performing, chances are that you have battled nerves on stage or during a competition.

Get tips for:

Only you can decide how best to live with SAD. If you have been in treatment, you may simply need to be vigilant about using coping strategies to avoid a relapse of symptoms.

Most people will never live completely without social anxiety, but rather achieve a balance in which your anxiety does not negatively affect your daily functioning or place limits on what you can achieve.

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