DiagnosisSymptomsCausesTreatment
diagnosis

What is Social Anxiety?

Someone suffering from social anxiety feels intensely worried about socialising and interacting with others, either in particular social situations or all social situations. They may feel a mixture of fear, apprehension, and panic about being rejected, misunderstood, embarrassed, or perceived negatively during social interactions. 

These feelings are more intense and debilitating than regular feelings of shyness that we all sometimes feel. They might come to the person before, during, or after social exchanges and can cause the person to feel great distress, even in anticipation of such situations. . 

As a result, they begin to avoid any or all social situations that act as triggers for their feelings of anxiety. This impacts their quality of life and can worsen as time progresses, and can prevent them from progressing in their career, forming and maintaining relationships, and living a normal life. If this sounds like you, you might be experiencing social anxiety disorder(SAD). 


* Please remember that only a licensed mental health professional can diagnose you, and refrain from taking medication and undertaking treatment without professional recommendation. 

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SYMPTOMS

What are symptoms of Social Anxiety?

Psychological symptoms include: 

  • Feeling intense worry about social events and/or exchanges before, during, or after they occur
  • Worrying about feeling embarrassed during social events and exchanges
  • Worrying that other people will notice or pick up on anxious feelings
  • Experiencing sleep disruptions or losing sleep due to worry about social events
  • Being overly analytical and self-critical of performance, conversation, or exchange after it has happened
  • Actively avoiding social events or situations due to feelings of anxiety and worry
  • Needing alcohol or drugs to face social events, situations, and exchanges

Physical symptoms include:

  • Physical trembling
  • Excessive sweating
  • Blushing
  • Stammering or loss of voice
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or faintness 
CAUSES

What are the Causes of Social Anxiety?

There is no single known cause of Social Anxiety disorder (SAD). Social anxiety can develop as a result of one or several contributing factors:

A person may be more prone to developing SAD through genetic predisposition. If you have an immediate family member who has an anxiety disorder, there is a greater chance you may develop SAD.

The environment you find yourself in can be a contributing factor. A lack of a good support system of family and friends, and coping mechanisms may worsen people’s feelings of anxiety. 

Negative or traumatic life events might trigger the development of anxiety disorders. If you have experienced one or several negative events in your life, you can be more vulnerable to developing anxiety disorders. 

Your personality can also play a role. People who have a greater tendency to worry, over think things, and be self-critical are more prone to developing SAD.

TREATMENT

How is Social Anxiety Treated?

Social anxiety is a treatable disorder, and access to specialised treatments and finding coping mechanisms can help you overcome your overwhelming anxious feelings and behaviours. 


Treatments include:

Therapy - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has proven to be extremely effective in treating people suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder. 

Medication - Prescribed medication can help in reducing feelings of anxiety over a long-term period.

Coping mechanisms - In addition to any therapeutic or medication-based interventions, mental health professionals may also make recommendations for coping mechanisms, such as lifestyle changes or positive self-affirmations to repeat.

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