Social Anxiety Disorder – Causes & Treatments

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social anxiety disorder

In today’s world, everyone is facing social issues. But if you’re going through social phobia also called social anxiety disorder, everyday situations can be extra challenging. Anxiety is a dread that emerges fully expecting an occasion, and phobia is a dread of a specific situation. You might feel scarier than other people in social interactions. It can be very stressful and may have a big impact on your life.

It gets better for many people as they get older. But mostly it does not go away on its own without treatment. The National Mental Health Institute states that 12.1% of adults in the US experience a social anxiety disorder at some point in their lifetime. It’s important to get help if you are having symptoms of social anxiety disorder.

Social phobia is treatable. By taking the right therapy and medications can help people to overcome their symptoms. This article will help you to find out how to get rid of social phobia by getting the right treatment.

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Many people get nervous on occasion, like when giving a speech or interviewing for a job. But a social anxiety disorder is more than just shyness or occasional nerves. It involves fear of certain social situations, especially when they are unfamiliar. These situations can get you anxious and you think about avoiding them.

Social anxiety disorder is the fear of being judged in public. You may be afraid that you won’t measure up in comparison to others. You can learn to be comfortable in a social situation and reclaim your life.

What causes Social Anxiety?

Sometimes it feels like you’re the only one in this problem, social anxiety is very common in both males and females. Many people struggle with fear. But the symptoms can be different depending upon the situations.

People experience anxiety in social situations. Anxiety is connected to specific situations like speaking to a stranger, performing in front of an audience. Some common social anxiety triggers are;

  • Meeting new people
  • Being the center of attention
  • Being watched while doing something
  • Being teased or criticized
  • Public speaking
  • Taking with important people
  • Attending social gatherings

What are the Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder?

Getting anxious doesn’t mean that you have a social anxiety disorder. Many individuals feel hesitant on events, yet it doesn’t get in the way of their everyday functioning. It does interfere with your normal routine and causes tremendous distress. Social anxiety disorder has effects on the body and mind of the individuals, causing emotional, physical, and behavioral symptoms. The symptoms of social anxiety disorder occur in certain situations and may include;

  • Excessive self-consciousness
  • Fear that others will notice that you’re nervous
  • Blushing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating or faint
  • Staying quiet or hiding in the background to escape notice and embarrassment

Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder:

People dealing with a social anxiety disorder have various options to get treatment and manage their symptoms, gain confidence, and overcome their anxiety. Without treatment, it may persist throughout life. Healthcare professionals will recommend treatment with both medication and psychotherapy.

1. Psychotherapy:

Social anxiety is beyond shyness or feeling nervous around new people. It’s a mental health condition, and it’s not always possible to work through symptoms yourself. You can manage the anxiety and depression you experience, but getting support from a healthcare professional is always a good place to start. A trained health professional can;

  • Therapist may offer more insight on the difference between shyness and social anxiety
  • Help you identify anxiety triggers
  • Teach you helpful coping strategies, social skills, and relaxation techniques
  • Offer guidance with challenging and replacing negative thoughts.

A therapist offers a safe environment to practice navigating anxiety-provoking situations. Your therapist may suggest group therapy, which will provide you a chance to practice social skills and interact with people also coping with social anxiety.

2. Medication:

Medicine is utilized to alleviate the symptoms of social anxiety. It is considered most helpful when used in addition to therapy that addresses the root cause of social anxiety disorder. Three types of medication are used in the treatment of social anxiety which includes

  • Beta-blockers
  • Antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines

3. Explore situations that trigger anxiety:

 You might feel anxious about a situation where you worry about others judging you. Pinpoint why and when you feel most anxious can help you to move forward finding solutions to power through those feelings. You can start listing situations that cause you to feel uncomfortable. These might include;

  • Interviewing for a new job
  • Meeting with a professor to ask for help
  • Introducing yourself to someone you’re attracted to

4. Challenge Negative Thoughts:

People should challenge their mind first to deal with social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety gives negative thoughts to sufferers and that contributes to their fears and anxiety.  These thoughts include;

  • My voice will start shaking and I’ll humiliate myself
  • I know I’ll end up looking like a fool
  • People will think I’m stupid

Challenging these negative thoughts is an effective way to reduce social anxiety.

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5. Focus on others, not yourself:

When you are in a social situation that makes you nervous, you might get caught up in anxious thoughts and feelings. You may be convinced that everyone is judging you. Your focus is on bodily sensations, hoping that paying extra attention can control them better.  But this excessive self-focus makes you more aware of how nervous you’re and can also prevent you from fully concentrating on the conversations around you or the performance you’re giving.

You should focus on the present moment rather than worrying about others. You should be ready to listen to what is being said, not to your negative thoughts.

6. Learn to control your breathing:

Several changes occur in your body when you become anxious. One of the first is that you begin to breathe quickly. Over breathing throws off the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body which leads to more physical symptoms of anxiety-like dizziness, suffocation, muscle tension, and increased heart rate. Learning to slow your breathing can help you bring physical symptoms of anxiety under control.

7. Face your Fears:

The most helpful thing to overcome social anxiety is to face the social situations you fear rather than avoiding them. Avoidance keeps anxiety disorder going.  Avoiding conscious situations helps you feel better and more comfortable in the long term. Avoidance also prevents you from reaching certain goals.  You should start with a situation that you can handle and gradually work your way up to more challenging situations. This will build your confidence and coping skills as you move up the anxiety ladder.

Wrapping up:

Feeling self-conscious around others can make it difficult to forge connections with potential friends. When you trying to get relief from social anxiety rut is to remember that everything takes time. You should be pleased with any small progress that you make; as every journey begins with small steps and it is important to get started and not worry about your goal. Focus on your journey and your actions will take you there.

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