Expert Talk: How To Manage Social Anxiety & Depression

Although social anxiety seems to more often lead to depression than vice versa, anxiety may also arise as a symptom of depression. 

Tanya Srivastava
Written by: Tanya SrivastavaUpdated at: Nov 10, 2022 16:29 IST
Expert Talk: How To Manage Social Anxiety & Depression

It is natural to wonder why you might be depressed if you are socially anxious. Or why you might become socially anxious if you are depressed. Depression is often the reason that people turn to treatment, although social anxiety may be a primary issue. Also, if you are diagnosed with social anxiety disorder as well as depression, it is more likely that you will experience more serious, chronic symptoms. When it is severe or chronic, social anxiety may contribute to other conditions, like depression or substance use disorders.

In an exclusive interaction with OnlyMyHealth editorial team, Ankit Puri, A Social Activist & Social Worker, Author of My Life In wRaps, explains how one can manage social depression. Here is what he told us.

Although social anxiety seems to more often lead to depression than vice versa, anxiety may also arise as a symptom of depression. While depression typically causes these feelings more directly, a person suffering from social anxiety may experience these symptoms through avoidance of social situations. Many people who have depression may also have anxiety-like conditions at the same time. Many people with depression also experience symptoms of anxiety, disrupted sleep, and appetite, may experience feelings of guilt or low self-esteem, decreased focus, or even symptoms that cannot be explained with a medical diagnosis.

Symptoms And Management Of Social Anxiety

Anxiety symptoms can also include difficulty sleeping as well as more physical symptoms such as tiredness, headaches, or stomach aches. Many people with social anxiety disorders also have severe physical symptoms, like rapid heart rate, nausea, and sweating, and can have a full-blown outburst when they encounter a frightening situation. When possible–and with help from a therapist, if needed–people with social anxiety disorder may be able to gradually increase exposure to situations that they are afraid of. Behaviour therapy for anxiety can include helping children to manage symptoms of anxiety. And at the same time, slowly exposing them to the things they are afraid of, to help them learn that the worst things they fear may not happen.

Symptoms And Management Of Social Anxiety & Depression

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Talk therapy is a common treatment for both social anxiety and depression, and can help manage symptoms even if social anxiety and depression are present together. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are antidepressants that people mostly use for anxiety, and may also help their symptoms. 

A number of other medications may also help people cope with symptoms of social anxiety disorder. In addition, there are a variety of treatment options that can help people manage symptoms, build confidence, and simultaneously overcome anxiety.

Social anxiety leading to a diagnosis such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) sometimes means dealing with symptoms of anxiety and depression that are difficult to treat. Symptoms may be so extreme that they can  disrupt everyday functioning. It may even significantly disrupt routines, work or social lives, making it hard to finish school, interview for jobs, and pursue friendships and romantic relationships. The inability to control symptoms usually leads to feelings of frustration, hopelessness, isolation, and eventually, depression.