6 Obstacles to Getting Help for Social Anxiety Disorder

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Social anxiety disorder (SAD) often goes undiagnosed and untreated. It makes sense when you think about it—the very thing you are afraid to do is what you need to do to get help.

Perhaps you are confined to your home out of fear. Maybe you don't have the nerve to call your doctor. Maybe you don't know how to bring it up to your parents.

The bottom line is that you live with your anxiety day-to-day because you can't seem to break free from the situation you are in.

These are known as obstacles to treatment, and there are always ways of getting around them.

Here are 6 common barriers to getting help, and some counter-responses that you may wish to consider when these ideas pop into your head.

1. Not Knowing Where to Start

You don't have to have it all figured out before you take that first step. There are so many ways that you could try to get help. Use their therapist finder to find someone who treats social anxiety disorder in your area. Find a therapist who understands SAD. Go to a bookstore and buy a self-help book. Sign up for a two-week immersion program with the Social Anxiety Institute. What you choose to do exactly matters less than the fact you are actually taking a step toward your recovery and coping.

2. Fear of Making a Call

You don't have to call to make an appointment with a therapist or professional. Send an email or even send a letter. Try doing whatever it takes to make contact with whatever means you have. There is always a way when you think hard enough. Try writing down your thoughts and feelings, and you can use this as a starting point to speak with a therapist. Remember, they are trained to help you and they have heard similar situations to yours.

3. Believing You Should Be Able to Deal With It on Your Own

Would you tell someone with schizophrenia to get over it? Would you tell an anorexic person to just eat a hot dog? It's not as simple as it seems, and you may not be able to talk yourself out of your problems. If you've got severe social anxiety, this is not a problem you can solve on your own.

There are many ways you can begin the conversation, but the most important thing to keep in mind is to be honest about your feelings and concerns. This will help your therapist or mental health professional to develop the best plan for you.

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

4. Fear of Losing Who You Are

You can still be quiet and introverted but not socially anxious. You don't have to change your personality to get over social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety is holding you back from expressing your true personality, rather than being a part of it. Don't mistake your anxiety as being a part of you. It's an entity unto itself that has no business messing up your life.

5. Fear That It Will Be on Your Record and Affect Future Job Prospects

If your anxiety is severe, your job prospects are being affected anyway. There is no shame in having accommodations at work so that you can function better. Success is better measured by what you had to overcome to get where you are, rather than where you end up.

6. Nervousness About Telling Someone Your Problems

Of course you are! You have not dealt with your social anxiety yet. It will get easier, and you won't feel as uncomfortable at the end as you do at the beginning. It's always going to feel that way at the start, you just have to push through it.

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