Learning More About Social Anxiety

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Social Anxiety Disorder is also termed as Social Phobia and to date, it is one of the most talked about mental health issue worldwide. In fact, it is the 3rd biggest behavioral problem affecting millions of people.

Statistics show that Social Anxiety influences at least 7% of the total human population. The incidence of people developing Social Anxiety in their lifetime is at an all-time high at 13%. It is very alarming since Social Anxiety just happens to anyone, anywhere and anytime.

Defining Social Anxiety

According to Thomas A. Richards, Ph.D., “if a person usually becomes (irrationally) anxious in social situations, but seems better when they are alone, then social anxiety may be the problem.” Social Anxiety is a distressing feeling when being faced in a social situation as the person is pressured to interact with others and he fails in doing so. Actually, in a clearer sense, Social Anxiety is that fear of being scrutinized negatively by his peers. The person with this mental health condition is anxious that other individuals are evaluating his every move in a disapproving manner.

The condition is often chronic because it is difficult to subside on its own. One of the most effective ways to deal with it is CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy. The brain is being taught to surpass this social anxiety problem and there is a high incidence that people with Social Anxiety can be relieved of this condition.

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Social Anxiety on People

Those people with this mental health condition are often perceived by others as introverted, cautious, wary, worrywarts, mostly silent or stoic, reluctant, regressive, hesitant, reserved, aloof, nervy, tense, and disinterested.

It doesn’t mean that they are intentionally doing this or that they want to be like this without friends and all. It’s just that they have that fear. They can’t do it like other normal people can because of the fact that their mind is “not normal”. Socially anxious persons want to have friends and do things with their peers, but their condition limits their social ability. Their anxiety holds them back from being outgoing, approachable and free.

Source: socialanxietydisorder.org.uk

Triggers of Social Anxiety

“Even though anxiety disorders are difficult, they’re one of the most treatable disorders. Yet only a third of people seek treatment,” said Kevin Chapman, Ph.D., a psychologist who specializes in evidence-based treatment for anxiety and related disorders in adults and adolescents. Individuals suffering from Social Anxiety are often experiencing fear in social situations. These are just some of the instances wherein socially anxious people are triggered:

  • When they are being introduced to new people
  • When they are being irritated, laughed at or scrutinized by others
  • When they are forced to be at the center of attention
  • When they are being examined or monitored
  • When they are forced to speak in front of a crowd
  • When they are face to face with authority figures
  • When they are feeling out of place
  • When they get embarrassed
  • When they do eye contact
  • When they write, talk, swallow, make calls in public and the likes

There are many other triggering symptoms of Social Anxiety, but these are just some of the few common ones.


Finding Help and Support for Social Anxiety

All types of anxiety issues like Social Anxiety is treatable. According to Justin Weeks, Ph.D., “someone who is socially anxious should a) create “objective behavior goals,” or behaviors that people can actually pick up on and b) try not to focus on other people’s reactions to these behaviors.” Therefore, finding help and support for this problem entails speaking with a certified therapist. Only these specialists can understand what a socially anxious person is going through and they are equipped to help them overcome this problem and treat it.

Treatment for socially anxious people often include behavioral therapy sessions in a group setting because they can work through their anxiety issues. With effective therapy programs and patience, this can be conquered.

James Bramblett