Okay, this is something that really helped me in '04 and '05 back when I was taking my meds (Cymbalta/Klonopin/Adderall). I'm just now restarting the SSRI and Adderall after taking a (worthless) year off trying everything that isn't recommended for ADHD.
I use this method and I hope this can help some people at least consider new possibilities in beating their social anxiety.
I call it my "blowing up a party method" because I could get myself feeling no social fear at all for about 6-8 hours and that was enough time to have a blast at said party and also meet some really cool people. We all know that the initial meeting of people is the most difficult, especially if we're trying to get to know a hottie girl/guy. So, even though my technique might seem temporary, it worked well because after you've met someone, it's a lot easier to hang with them again in a "normal" state, cause you already know the person.
Anyway, what it involved for me is... on the day of the party, I would take my SSRI and my Klonopin like normal... but I wouldn't take any Adderall for my ADD, because that makes me anxious. (I need it for school and work, but this was not a concern on the weekend) I would then get at least a couple of diet coke 32oz bottles on my way there and start chugging them. There was a profound interaction with the SSRI, the Klonopin, and the caffeine that really got me feeling good and loose and a little hyper. For once I was the loud guy at the gathering who wasn't afraid to have a good time. In fact, I would get to a place where I could just do whatever in the most fun-loving "party dude" way possible. It made a great impression, especially since all the other guys there were drinking booze and here I was just having a soda and getting all fearless and wild. One girl actually told me that this was impressive that I was so disinhibited and yet I didn't "need" and booze. Little did she know that the Diet Coke in combo with anti anxiety meds was fueling my "frat boy" ways.
This worked to get me two longer term relationships and one hook-up. The fun loving side of me got to come out and play and the next time I met up with the girls I was chill enough... because we'd already spent a few hours together... that things went well after that. The other thing is, and I don't know how well this would translate for women trying this.. but for guys... I have found that if a woman is really impressed the first time you hang out, she'll be more forgiving of my shy side later when we meet up again. Maybe she's thinking: "Wow, Paul is a wild party badboy... but he's also got a sensitive side..." I don't know. I do know that it's important that you come across at first as that fun, non-depressed, wild, fearless guy FIRST... then you can let more of your soft side show.
Okay, so what is the point of all this? Well, I think people are using what my doc uncle calls "poly-pharmacy" a lot less than they could be to treat their SA. What I seemed to be doing with the combo of the high dose Klonopin (2mg TID), the Lexapro or Cymbalta, and the massive Caffeine intake was:
1) Greatly raising GABA levels (benzo)
2) Serotonin, NA, and to a tiny extent DA was increased and reuptake was blocked (Cymbalta) which is important because...
3) Caffeine seems to increase the release of all of the neurotransmitters for a while. So, the Caffeine acted like rocket-fuel in that environment and let me out of my shell for a while.
I ran this by my PDoc and he hypothesized that the effect I was experiencing was like a slow release, mild cocaine high. I asked him if it was harmful and he said, in moderation, no it was not. Cademon would know tons more about how this might actually work in the brain but for me, the formula to cut loose is SSNRI/SSRI + high dose benzo + tons of Caffeine. Keep in mind I'm ADD and none of the the other stimulants do this to me, they all make me Mr. serious engineer/science guy. I'm not sure if this would work for the non ADD-brain, but it's worth a try.
Now, some might say that this is no permanent fix to my SA, and they are right. Even with my large Klonopin intake (which I have built no tolerance to in three years, BTW) I am still a big time introvert. But that doesn't matter too much once you've "broken the ice" and are dating someone, does it? Also, first impressions go a long way, and once you get to know someone, a friend or a lover, they tend to be a lot more forgiving, and they will always think of you as the person that they first met.
The point of all this? SA is hell, living alone is hell, having no friends is hell, having no relationships is hell, and this was the way that I found to get out of that hell that I had lived in for so many years. I still have SA. I'm still shy.... but the meeting of new people is the hardest part, and this party method really changed my life and expanded my circle of friends. It may work for you, it may not, but all of us ought to keep trying things until we find what does work... even if it's only an 6-8 hour solution.