It was a good decision to start trying to treat your sa. You may improve a lot but it usually takes a lot of time and effort.
Regarding medication, studies have shown they do something (for some people), so I guess there is not debate there. However, you may have to try different drugs to find one that helps, and even if you find one, the effect is usually subttle. You'll not wake up one day and feel outgoing. On the other hand, you may notice that your anxiety becomes a bit lower than usual in some social situations. Then you have to size the opportunity to initiate a positive cycle by doing more exposure. It is also recommended not to count on the med alone. You may want to combine drugs with cbt (it's supposed to to be the most efficient therapy for sa).
Then there are a lot of stuff you can do one the side. They are certainly not first line treatments and probably wouldn't help on their own, but they can be effective as extras: meditation (studies have shown it helps against anxiety and depression), yoga or even running (good for the mood) and so on.
A very good way to do exposure is to enroll in an acting or singing course. It sounds very intimidating at first but some of them are specially adressed to shy people. I think this option can only be considered if your sad is not severe, but it can really speed up your progress.
The idea is really to be proactive and to combine different kind of treatments/activities. It will maximize your chance to find something that really help you.
Don't expect too much from medication. It's a current habit here. Some people greatly benefit from them, but, again, in average the effect is moderate. Lexapro is often the first SSRI prescribed by doctors since its side effects are often mild. A few remarks:
- You may have to wait up to 6-8 weeks to notice anything.
- It may not work, either because the dose need to be increased or because the med is not the right one ( lexapro was almost useless for me).
- most side effects may subside, but the libido stuff is current with SSRIs and unluckily, it tends to last. Some people have it more than others. It can obviously be a deal breaker.