Re: Severe social Anxiety Disorder
I have severe social anxiety too. In addition to that I have obsessive-compulsive disorder (ocd), generalized anxiety and clinical depression. Due to the ocd (though and other disorders), I need to take the ssri (selective serotonin reuptake inhitbitor) antidepressant prozac (I actually take the time-released 'prozac weekly', 3 x a week instead of the once a week due to the ocd). Just fyi that a doctor once told me that st. john's wort is mainly for those with a very mild depression and that it's no guarantee that it would work even then. With valerian root, I don't know much about it but someone (an everyday person just like myself) mentioned that it's supposed to help with anxiety and/or sleep. Please be extremely careful with any types of herbs as no one really knows the concentration of the substance in the supplement and herbal treatments may interact with other medications, supplements and other health issues.
As far as helping the social anxiety without medication, what I find helpful when having to interact with groups of people or with anyone is to try to remember that everyone has their own insecurities and that no one is perfect even if they seem as though they are and appear very self-confident :) I just 'talk' to myself and reassure myself that they are just people like myself.
Please do consider at least talking with a licensed therapist about the anxiety too. I actually practice a relaxation technique called 'deep breathing' which involves placing one's hand on the abdomen (for 'abdominal breathing' as opposed to through the lungs) and (through the nose) slowly take a deep breath in and then (through pursed lips) slowly breathe out being careful not to hyperventilate. There is an anxiety disorders association (though Not in place of actual therapy) but we're unable to post websites. Please don't suffer alone any longer though.