What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is a disorder that causes individuals to feel extremely uncomfortable and anxious in situations that involve other people. According to the VA, “While most people feel anxious some of the time in some social situations, for people with SAD, the anxiety is strong and long-lasting and gets in the way of them doing things they want to do.” Even though the disorder cannot always be cured, it can be managed through a specialized treatment regimen that uses medication and psychotherapy.
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Symptoms of Social Anxiety
Also called social phobia, the disorder causes individuals to experience life differently because they are always worried about getting embarrassed in social situations. They may blush a great deal and have trouble speaking when confronted with specific situations that require them to interact with others. Some individuals may even experience
- Trembling or shaking
- Sweating profusely
- Becoming nauseous or vomiting
when they encounter situations like these. The disorder can cause a person to feel extremely uncomfortable going to parties, speaking in public, and meeting new people while some individuals can experience these same symptoms as a result of “using public restrooms” or other everyday situations (NLM). Individuals with this disorder will often attempt to avoid these types of situations as much as possible.
People living with social anxiety disorder constantly worry about being laughed at or being judged by others. These worries can become so intense that they will fret over social situations for weeks before and after they occur. They will be accustomed to other individuals telling them to “just get over it,” even though this advice is not helpful. If left untreated, individuals often become extremely isolated from others and start to exhibit signs of agoraphobia or panic disorder.
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Causes of Social Anxiety
There is no known cause for social anxiety, although it does tend to run in families. According to the NIMH, “Some researchers think that misreading of others’ behavior may play a role in causing” the disorder, while other cases indicate that poor social skills can often trigger the issue.
Treatment of Social Anxiety
Social anxiety disorder is not something a person can get over; they will need treatment which, over a prolonged amount of time, can help them cope more easily with stressful social situations or being around others in general.
Psychotherapy has been used to treat the disorder with considerable success. Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches individuals how to think differently about the types of situations which cause them so much stress. Patients are often taught coping mechanisms which can change their behavior as well as how they see themselves and others. Even spending time with a therapist can help bolster a person’s social skills and show them that they can interact with others successfully.
Medications are often prescribed as well, especially in the case of those with severe anxiety. Prescription antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can help give an individual a sense of calm where before there was only stress. It allows them to better focus on their therapy as well as interact with others more easily on a day-to-day basis.
Social anxiety disorder can be extremely problematic and cause intense, unwanted symptoms. However, it can be successfully managed with the right treatment program. Call toll free to find help anytime.