Do you avoid social situations because you are worried about how you will be perceived by others? Do you feel like everyone is watching and judging you? If so, then you may be struggling with social anxiety disorder. This condition can make everyday activities such as going to work or school difficult. It can also lead to depression and isolation. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes of social anxiety disorder and provide tips for overcoming it.
What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety disorder is described as a fear of social situations that is so intense that it interferes with a person’s ability to function in day-to-day life. This can manifest itself in several ways, such as feeling extremely self-conscious and anxious in everyday social interactions, avoiding social situations altogether, or experiencing significant distress when faced with a situation.
Normally, a person experiences some degree of anxiety in social situations. This is perfectly normal and usually goes away after a short period. However, for someone with social anxiety disorder, the fear is much more intense and lasts much longer. In severe cases, the person may even avoid social interaction altogether.
Studies have also found that people who suffer from a social anxiety disorder often have a higher than average IQ. This may be because they are constantly overthinking and analyzing every social interaction, which can lead to an increased level of anxiety. However, in severe cases that cause distressing symptoms, it can be classified as a mental disorder.
From there, it becomes important to seek out help and overcome this disorder before it begins to take over your life.
There are different types of social anxiety disorder, but the two most common are:
- Performance anxiety
- Interaction anxiety
Performance anxiety is when you’re anxious about being judged during a presentation or performance. It is common to feel your heart racing, sweating, and shaking when you have performance anxiety.
Interaction anxiety is when you’re anxious about interacting with other people. This can include feeling shy, not knowing what to say, or feeling like you’re being judged. Interaction anxiety can make it difficult to make friends or maintain relationships.
It is important to understand that social anxiety disorder is different from shyness. While someone shy may feel anxious in social situations, they are usually able to overcome their anxiety and enjoy the situation. Someone with a social anxiety disorder will likely avoid social situations altogether, or if they do go, they will experience a great deal of distress.
What Are The Symptoms?
The symptoms of social anxiety disorder can be divided into two categories: physical and psychological.
It is believed that the root cause of physical symptoms is the “fight or flight” response. When we are faced with a threat, our bodies prepare us to either fight the danger or run away from it. This response is mediated by the release of adrenaline and other stress hormones. The physical symptoms of a social anxiety disorder include:
- heart palpitations
- shortness of breath
- dry mouth
- muscle tension
When it comes to psychological symptoms, people with social anxiety disorder feel highly anxious in social situations. This may manifest as a fear of public speaking, or feeling extremely self-conscious and awkward in everyday interactions. Some common psychological symptoms include:
- intense fear of social situations
- avoidance of social situations
- anticipatory anxiety about social situations
- intrusive thoughts about social situations
People with social anxiety often worry about being judged or evaluated negatively by others, and as a result, they may avoid social situations altogether. In severe cases, this can lead to significant impairment in work, school, and personal relationships.
These symptoms can be extremely debilitating, but there is hope. With treatment, people with social anxiety disorder can learn to manage their symptoms and live full and enjoyable lives.
What Triggers Social Anxiety?
Many things can trigger social anxiety. And triggers are usually different for each person. Some common triggers include:
- Meeting new people
- Being in a crowd
- Public speaking or performing
- Going on a date
- Eating or drinking in front of others
- Using public restrooms
These triggers can manifest themselves in different ways. For some, it might be a feeling of butterflies in their stomach. For others, it might be a racing heart or trembling hands. Generally, it is an intense fear or anxiety that is triggered by a particular situation.
There are also different types of social anxiety. Some people only experience anxiety in certain situations, while others might feel anxious all the time. Social anxiety can also be classified as a specific phobia (fear of flying, for example), performance anxiety (anxiety about speaking or performing in front of others), or generalized anxiety (feeling anxious all the time).
Therefore it is not surprising that social anxiety can have a big impact on someone’s life. So, how can you overcome it and enjoy life?
Is Social Anxiety Disorder A Form Of Autism?
This might surprise you, but social anxiety disorder and autism spectrum disorder share some similar characteristics. Both conditions involve problems with social interaction and communication. People with social anxiety disorder tend to be extremely self-conscious and anxious in social situations.
They may worry about being judged or rejected by others. As a result, they may avoid social interactions altogether. People with autism spectrum disorder also have difficulty with social interaction and communication. However, their symptoms are usually more severe.
They may not make eye contact, or they may have trouble understanding nonverbal cues such as body language and facial expressions. While social anxiety disorder can be extremely debilitating, it is important to remember that it is treatable. If you think you may have a social anxiety disorder, please see a mental health professional.
However, it is not compulsory for people with a social anxiety disorder to receive a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. So it is important to work with a mental health professional.
How To Overcome It?
When it comes to social anxiety disorder, there are several ways that you can overcome it. The first step is to understand what the condition is and how it affects you. Once you have this understanding, you can begin to work on overcoming your fears. Let’s discuss some of the tips to overcome social anxiety disorder:
Talk to someone who understands
When you’re feeling anxious or down, talking to someone who understands what you’re going through can be incredibly helpful. If you don’t have anyone in your life who suffers from social anxiety, many online support groups can offer guidance and understanding. This can help you feel less alone and give you some insight into how to better manage your condition. Because social anxiety can be so isolating, it’s important to reach out and connect with others who understand what you’re going through.
Challenge your negative thoughts
One of the biggest challenges with social anxiety is the negative thoughts that can run through your head. These thoughts can be so strong that they affect how you behave. If you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re not good enough or that people will judge you, it’s time to challenge those thoughts. For example, the next time you have a negative thought, try to counter it with a positive one. This can help you start to change the way you think about yourself and your condition.
If the thought of going to a party or networking event fills you with dread, start small by attending smaller gatherings. This could be a dinner party with close friends, going for coffee with a colleague, or even just striking up a conversation with a stranger. The key is to gradually expose yourself to social situations so that you can build up your confidence. This is called “systematic desensitization” and it’s an effective way to overcome your fear of social situations.
Make a list of your fears
Another helpful step is to make a list of all the things that make you anxious about social situations. Once you have this list, you can start to address each fear one by one. For example, if you’re afraid of being judged, you can work on building your self-confidence. If you’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, you can practice small talk or conversation starters. By addressing each fear individually, you’ll be better equipped to handle any situation that comes your way.
Practice public speaking
Public speaking is one of the most common fears and it can be a big obstacle to overcome. However, there are many ways to practice public speaking so that it becomes less daunting. One way is to join a local Toastmasters club where you’ll have the opportunity to give speeches in a supportive environment. You can also take workshops or classes on public speaking. The more you do it, the easier it will become.
Practice relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques are a great way to help calm your nerves and ease your anxiety. There are many different techniques you can try, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and meditation. Experiment with different techniques to see what works best for you. As there are no negative side effects to relaxation techniques, it’s definitely worth giving them a try!
Therapy is one of the most effective ways to work on social anxiety disorder. A therapist can help you understand your condition and work on specific strategies to manage your symptoms. Some of the common therapy types used to treat social anxiety disorder include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Exposure therapy
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
If you’re considering therapy, make sure to find a therapist who specializes in treating anxiety disorders. Not all therapists are created equal, and finding one who is a good fit for you is essential to the success of your treatment.
Medication is often used in combination with therapy to treat social anxiety disorder. If you’re considering medication, make sure to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits. Some common medications used to treat social anxiety disorder include:
- Anti-anxiety medications
These are just a few of the options available, and a professional can help you determine which medication is right for you. In addition, it’s important to be patient when starting medication. It can take several weeks or even months for the full effects to be felt.
Take care of yourself
Finally, you should always take care of yourself. This means getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly. Taking care of your physical health will help you to feel better overall and reduce stress levels. Additionally, try to avoid alcohol and drugs, as they can worsen anxiety symptoms. This will be different for everyone, but it is important to find what works for you.
If you suffer from a social anxiety disorder, know that you are not alone. Many people struggle with this condition. However, many people have gone on to live happy and fulfilling lives. With the right treatment and support, you can too. You should always consult with a mental health professional to get started on the road to recovery. They can help you to understand your condition and create a treatment plan that is right for you.
To conclude, social anxiety disorder is simply the fear of social situations. It is the worry that you will do or say something embarrassing in front of others. This can make everyday activities, such as going to work or school, very difficult. However, there are many ways to overcome this disorder. With treatment and self-help, you can learn to manage your anxiety and enjoy life again.
So do not be afraid to ask for help if you think you may have a social anxiety disorder. Remember, you are not alone and there is nothing to be ashamed of. You can also contact Therapy Mantra for assistance and more information.
Therapy Mantra is a platform that provides online therapy, counseling, and other numerous services. We connect you with licensed therapists and counselors who can help you work through your social anxiety disorder. Our services are affordable, convenient, and confidential. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you. You can also book an online counseling and therapy session or download our free Android or iOS app.