Social Anxiety Disorder aka Social Phobia, is a common anxiety disorder characterized by having an intense fear of social situations. Normal interactions like engaging in small talk or having a phone conversation, makes a person with the disorder extremely uncomfortable. Far from mere shyness, this problem interferes with their daily life. It takes a lot for them to do things other people find simple and easy to do. Social anxiety disorder is an important condition which needs proper attention. Here are some basic points that will help you know if you have it:
What Causes Social Anxiety?
Excessive fear of judgment and humiliation comes from various environmental influences and traumatic life experiences. For instance, growing up with strict parents explains why you fear rejection. You may overthink the slightest hint of it, making you compensate by being too apologetic or defensive. Likewise, if you were bullied at school, you take great caution to not put yourself in any potentially embarrassing situation. You may even act differently only to avoid threatening scenarios you anticipate. Other significant events such as a loved one’s death, abuse (physical, sexual, or verbal), family conflict, or maternal stress during infancy, all contribute to this psychological disorder.
There are many signs that show social anxiety disorder. They vary from person to person. In order to qualify as real symptoms, they must be persistent sources of distress. These are a few common ones:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Upset stomach or nausea
- Muscle tension
- Out-of-body sensation
- Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers
- Fear of looking obviously anxious
- Avoiding being the center of attention
- Having anxiety about an upcoming dreaded event or activity
- Over-analyzing actions and words
- Magnifying and dwelling on every mistake no matter how small
- Anticipating the worst that can happen (e.g. spilling a drink on someone’s clothes)
- Enduring a social situation with intense fear or anxiety
- Fear of meeting people in authority
Once you’ve determined that you have social anxiety disorder, your next step is finding treatment. However, you must first let your loved ones know about your condition and your need for intervention. Express your feelings with honesty. Tell them exactly what you’re going through. If they don’t understand or accept it, don’t lose heart. Not everyone does at first. To tell you the truth, there’s still stigma surrounding mental health even in this day and age. Keep searching until you have someone who can support you. Ultimately, you can seek help on your own in the event that you have no one else to turn to. After that, look for the right therapist. One who makes you feel comfortable and has the proper credentials and experience. Then, you figure out together which therapy is right for you and whether you’ll take medication or not.
Indeed, social anxiety disorder is a serious condition that requires immediate attention. If you think you have this disorder, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. You are not alone. In fact, a lot of people who got diagnosed have either recovered or are already able to live a fulfilling life even with the condition. Above all, your disorder doesn’t define you. You’re still the same person. With the right aid and therapeutic intervention, healing is not too far out of reach.
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