Have you ever felt anxious and uncomfortable in social situations? Have you stopped doing something because you feel embarrassed about it? Do you know what is social anxiety? Do you fear criticism? Do you avoid eye contact? Do you fear being approved or liked by other people?
If your answer to the above questions is YES. It may or may not be the symptoms of social anxiety. The real question is whether the stress of the social environment is too much for your wellbeing. If your answer is positive, you might want to dig deeper into what is social anxiety.
“Social Anxiety Disorder is the third largest mental health care problem in the world today.”
What is Social Anxiety Disorder:
Social anxiety disorder (also called social phobia) is a mental health condition. It is one of the most common mental disorders in the world today. It is an overwhelming fear of the social situation. Social Anxiety is a chronic mental health disease that prevents a person from shining too bright. This fear of being evaluated in any social situation comes in the way of a person trying to reach their full potential through no fault of their own.
Many people feel nervous on an important day or occasion. This occasional fear is not labeled as a social anxiety disorder. Because this behavior does not affect the normal daily life of a person. Most of the people might be able to relate to the various signs and symptoms of social anxiety, yet they might not have it as this does not get in there a way of living. It is an intense fear of social situations and affects everyday activities.
Common symptoms could be emotional, physical and behavioral.
- Fear of doing everyday activities. Being extremely self-conscious while meeting strangers, starting conversations, speaking on the phone or eating in public.
- Avoiding social situations and activities, leading to restricting participation in group conversation or parties.
- Fear of being watched and judged.
- Worry for days or weeks or even months before an important event.
- Physical signs of this are most likely: stomach trouble, rapid heartbeat, nausea, sweating or difficulty in breathing.
A person suffering from social anxiety disorder experience the emotional physical and behavioral symptoms all at the same time hence intensifying the anxiety episode which also can lead to Depression.
For many people, social anxiety is a lifelong condition. Treatment of this disorder can help reduce the anxiousness and make a person feel confident in social environments. Once the doctor has confirmed the diagnosis by a physical evaluation followed by a psychiatric examination. The patient is offered a two-fold treatment: Psychotherapy and Medications. This rigorous treatment may help you ease the anxiety.
Here are 3 effective ways to fight social anxiety :
- Systematic Graduated Exposure: This is a technical term that simply means exposing yourself to social anxiety-provoking situations. Through the help of a mental health professional, a person can imagine themselves in social situations that are scary in real life. This is a kind of a role-play where a person can challenge the negative scenarios and help improve the reaction of a social situation. You can slowly work up to face the environment that you fear the most.
- Cognitive Restructuring: This is a useful technique that questions or challenges the cycle of negative thought patterns in our mind. The thinking that forces us to believe that we will embarrass ourselves in a social situation is the automatic response of our mind and certainly not the reality. This helps us break free from the thought process that brings us down.
- Practice in real life: Every treatment involves practicing therapy techniques in real life. Keeping track of anxiety-provoking thoughts and recording your reaction associated with it will help you track your progress to live a happy and healthy life.
One should learn about the symptoms and the methods to manage social anxiety. That will be helpful for themselves and people surrounding them.
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