It’s normal to worry and feel tense or scared when under pressure or facing a stressful situation. Anxiety is the body’s natural response to danger, an automatic alarm that goes off when we feel threatened.
Although it may be unpleasant, anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, anxiety can help us stay alert and focused, spur us to action, and motivate us to solve problems. But when anxiety is constant or overwhelming, when
it interferes with your relationships and activities—that’s when you’ve crossed the line from normal anxie
ty into the territory of anxiety disorders
What is social anxiety disorder?
Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, involves an intense and persistent fear of social si
tuations—especially situations that are unfamiliar or in which you feel you’ll be watched or judged by others.
These social situations may be so frightening that you feel anxious just thinking about them and go to great lengths to avoid them.
Some people with social anxiety become overwhelmingly anxious and self-conscious in everyday social situations. They have a strong, overbearing fear of being watched and judged by others, and of doing something that would embarrass them or call attention to them. They can also worry for days or weeks before a social situation or activity. This fear may become so controlling that it starts to interfere with work, school, and other ordin
ary activities and impair the person’s ability to function. It may even lead to shutting oneself into their home to avoid public interactions.
Although many people with social phobia realize that their fears about being with people are excessive or unreasonable, they can find it difficult to reason with the feelings and unable to overcome the cycle without help.
Common social anxiety triggers
Although it may feel like you’re the only one with this problem, social anxiety or social phobia is actually quite common. Many people struggle with these fears. According to the US National Co morbidity Survey, social
anxiety is the number one most common anxiety disorder and is also the third most common mental disorder in the
U.S. An estimated 19.2 million Americans suffer from social anxiety disorder. But the situations that trigger the symptoms of social anxiety disorder can be different.
Some people experience anxiety in all social situations, for others it is connected with specific social situations, such as speaking to strangers, eating at restaurants, or going to parties.
The most common specific social phobia is fear of public speaking or performing in front of an audience.
People with Social Anxiety can be triggered by different situations (imagined or real), that can cause them great stress to do or even think about doing.
Signs and symptoms of social anxiety
You may occasionally get nervous in social situations, but that doesn’t mean you have a social anxiety disorder. Many people are shy or self-conscious from time to time. The difference is that people suffering from Social Anxiety often find that it interferes with their normal routine and causes tremendous distress. It can also leave a person with a sense of shame because of their lack of ability to control their anxiety or wishing they responded differently
Emotional symptoms of social anxiety
- Intense self-consciousness and anxiety in everyday social situations
- Intense worry for days, weeks, or even months before an upcoming social situation
- Excessive fear of being watched or judged by others, especially people you don’t know
- Fear that you will embarrass or humiliate yourself
- Fear that others will notice that you’re nervous or notice your symptoms
Physical symptoms of social anxiety
- Lip quivers and stuttering
- Pounding heart and Shortness of breath
- Upset stomach, nausea (i.e. butterflies)
- Trembling or shaking hands
- Tightness in chest
- Sweating or hot flashes
- Headaches, dizzy or faint feelings
- Tearing or feeling like crying
Safety Behaviours (Behavioural symptoms of social anxiety)
Safety behaviours are the things you do when you feel anxious to attempt to minimize the risks you feel are there in social situations. They are behaviours that make you feel safer and therefore less anxious, but they also prevent you from gaining the valuable experiences that will help you overcome social anxiety.
• Crossing the road to avoiding meeting someone you know
• Using alcohol or other drugs before meeting people
• Avoiding answering the door or phone
• Avoiding eye contact
• Sticking to ‘safe’ topics during conversations
• Giving minimal answers and say as little as possible
• Speaking quietly
• Sitting on at the back or on the edge of a group
• Tensing up to try and control shaking
• Wearing clothes or using hair to hide blushing
• Wearing certain clothes to hide sweating
• Being overly polite to people
• Always agreeing with everyone
• Saying what you think people want to hear all the time
• Doing what everyone asks of you even if you don’t want to
• Leaving places early
• Talking excessively to fill silences
• Giving short vague answers to questions
• Constantly seeking reassurance from others
• Looking busy to avoid speaking to people
• Shopping in different places to avoid being recognized
• Making excuses for not attending social events
• Declining promotions that are more socially involved.
• Avoiding public transport
• Missing classes/training you find difficult
• Staying close to people you know
• Asking other to do things for you
• Avoiding anything that might initiate conflict
• Meeting social needs almost exclusively through the Internet
Many people get nervous or self-conscious from time to time, like when giving a speech or interviewing for a new job. But social anxiety is more than just shyness or occasional nerves.
With social anxiety disorder, your fear of embarrassing yourself or being judged is intense—so intense, in fact that you may go to great lengths to avoid situations that would trigger it. But no matter how painfully shy you may be and no matter how bad the symptoms, you can learn to be more comfortable in social situations and reclaim your life.
There is a way to gain back your life from Social Anxiety (Social Phobia) – Today could be the first step to a life of Freedom.
Call Ken today for effective Social Anxiety Counselling