“Social anxiety refers to a severe anxiety or fright of being judged, negatively estimated, or discarded in a social or performance circumstances.”
“Social anxiety is characterized by irresistible anxiousness and extreme self-consciousness in daily life social situations. It is also termed as social phobia or social anxiety disorder.”
“It is a persistent disorder that causes anxiety and panic in most all areas of an individual’s life, particularly where social situations are concerned.”
Social anxiety has a persistent, extreme, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of being humiliated or dishonored by their own acts. Their dread may be so relentless that it interferes with work, school, or other actions. They often agonize for days or weeks in advance of a dreaded situation. Together with this, they frequently experience low self-esteem and depression.
People with social anxiety may be too much concerned about acting or appearing noticeably nervous and anxious (e.g., blushing, hesitant over words), or being viewed as dull, embarrassed, or uninteresting. As a consequence, they often avoid or evade social or performance circumstances, and when a situation cannot be avoided, they experience considerable anxiousness and misery. Although they identify that their fear is unnecessary and irrational, people with social anxiety often feel helpless against their anxiety.
Social anxiety affects approximately 15 million American adults and is the second most universally diagnosed anxiety disorder subsequent to specific phobia. The average age of onset for social anxiety is at some point in the adolescent years. Even though individuals detect with social anxiety generally report intense shyness during infancy, it is essential to note that this disorder is not merely shyness. People with social anxiety are also at an augmented risk for developing major depressive disorder and alcohol abuse disorders.
Signs and Symptoms
Some of the signs which may commonly appear while dealing with social anxiety are:
- Likewise, one might decide he/she is not truly concerned in events, since he/she thinks that it feels awkward to do so.
- One may act in a different way when he/she speaks confidently.
- One doesn’t anticipate anybody to be friends with him/her.
- One may seems to be confused or in dilemma whenever asked to face a social situation.
- Growing up one persistently feels fearful thinking that other’s judgment was normal.
- One revises his/her social media updates continuously before posting it.
- One miss out events one is interested in, only because he/she thinks that they will feel embarrassed or uncomfortable.
- Whenever one’s look changes a bit, he/she gets frightened to go out and look for people.
- One thinks that his/her colleagues or classmates look down to them secretly.
- At times he/she wonders what his/her life would be akin to if he/she possibly will be more confident.
- One may have hundreds of justifications for why he/she do not meet or date.
Some of the major visible symptoms in an individual suffering from social anxiety are her under:
Emotional and behavioral symptoms
- Fear of being judged
- Feeling of depressed state
- Distressing about embarrassing or humiliating situations
- Fearful even out of expected events causing anxiety
- Feeling of being stressed out or anxiousness being in a social situation
- Fear of others noticing him/her in an anxious state
- Evade from situations where he/she may be a center of attraction
- Distressed out of embarrassment from visible symptoms such as trembling, sweating, blushing etc.
- Expecting pessimistic consequences from a negative experience in a social situation
- Afraid of interacting with strangers
- Difficulty in making eye contact
- Overthinking which in turn converts a panic attack into a panic disorder.
- Avoiding conversations and speaking in public to stay away from humiliation
- Spending unreasonable time in analyzing performance and identifying flaws in his/her interactions
- Social isolation
- Racing heartbeats
- Feeling of nausea
- Urge to escape
- Muscle tension
- Speaking too quietly
- Trouble in breathing
- Feeling of blank mind or numb state
- Upset stomach or stomachache
A diagnosis of social anxiety is made only if this escaping, fear, or anxious expectation of a social or performance circumstances obstruct with daily schedule, professional operation, and societal life or if there is noticeable distress as a consequence of the anxiety. The DSM-5 provides the following criterion for diagnosing social anxiety:
- The person fears one or more social or performance situations in which he/she is uncovered to probable scrutiny by others. Instances include meeting strange people, being observed eating or drinking, or giving a speech or performance.
- The individual fears behaving in a way that causes awkwardness or being negatively or harmfully evaluated.
- Disclosure to social situations roughly always causes severe anxiety.
- The panic situation is avoided or tolerated with anxiety and distress.
- The fear or anxiety is out of proportion to the genuine threat posed by the social condition.
- The fear or anxiety is constant and usually lasts for 6 months or longer.
- The evasion, anxious expectation, or distress interferes considerably with the person’s social, scholastic, or professional performance.
While investigation was going on in order to get enhanced understanding of causes of social anxiety, some investigations were associated with a tiny structure of out brain which is termed as ‘Amygdala’ which is believed to be a fundamental place to control fear responses.
Social anxiety is genetic. In fact, first-degree relatives have a 2 to 6 times elevated possibility of developing social anxiety. Researches supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have also recognized the place of a gene in mice that influence learned fearfulness. Mental health professionals and scientists are exploring the idea that heightened sensitivity to condemnation may be physiological or hormone based. Other researchers are investigating the ecological influence on the development of social anxiety. Childhood abuse and harsh conditions are risk factors for social anxiety.
- Inherited traits:Anxiety disorder tends to run in families. Nevertheless, it isn’t wholly obvious how much of it may be due to heredity and how much is due to learned behavior.
- Brain structure:A composition in the brain called the amygdala may participate a vital role in controlling the fear response. People who have amygdala in overly active state may have a heightened fear response, leading to augmented anxiety in social situations.
- Environmental factors:Social anxiety may possibly be a learned behavior since some people may build up the circumstance after an unpleasant or awkward social situation. Also, there may be a relationship between social anxiety and parents who either represent their anxious behavior in social situations or are more controlling or overprotective for their offspring.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): It is a form of psychotherapy that is very efficient in treating relentless social anxiety. A major endeavor of CBT is to lessen anxiety by eliminating values, beliefs or behaviors that facilitate to sustain the anxiety disorder and replacing it with positive ones.
Graded exposure technique: It is an exposure technique in which an individual is asked to get indulged in a social situation which is fearful for him/her. This repeated exposure desensitizes his/her fear of that social situation.
Mindfulness: It is a mental state attained by focusing one’s consciousness on the current moment, while peacefully recognizing and accepting one’s thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. It can be used to alleviate social anxiety by asking a person to go in a social situation, practice mindfulness so that he/she can get a real picture of his/her body and mind which may not be destructive.
Shifting attention: As the name suggests, individual is asked to focus on his/her breathing or on to some other object in order to shift his/her attention from the anxiety he/she is experiencing.
Breathing control exercises: These are some rhythmic pattern breathing exercises which divert one’s mind, shifts unwanted attention and calm oneself down in order to lower down the social anxiety.
Assertiveness: Being assertive is an ability to respond to a situation in a most appropriate manner. Person suffering from social anxiety and avoiding social situation must be given assertiveness techniques so that he/she can respond to any unreasonable situation calmly and get over it.
Conclusively, this was a brief understanding, meaning, concept, signs and symptoms, causes and psychological help regarding social anxiety.
Hope you find the above information beneficial.
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