In This Article
In This Article
Many of us can feel nervous when walking into a new social situation such as a dinner party where we do not know many of the guests.
But there are people who, when faced with interacting with other people, experience social phobia so crippling that it impacts every aspect of their life, including going to school, performing well at their job, and forming relationships.
These people have a disorder known as social anxiety.
Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, is the third most prevalent mental health disorder diagnosed in people today.
It impacts roughly 7% of the population.
Social anxiety is the fear of social situations, situations where the person has to interact with others.
At its base, social anxiety is the fear of being judged negatively by others. People with social anxiety are extremely sensitive to what those around them might think of them.
Social anxiety disorder does not discriminate between genders and it can affect people of all ages. However, its outward signs can differ according to whether you are male, female, a young child or an adolescent.
Social anxiety problems in men
Because men have been socially conditioned not to show signs of social anxiety outwardly, they will often try to mask their feelings using certain behaviors, such as:
Social anxiety problems in women
Research has shown that over twice as many women than men suffer from social anxiety disorder, but the results may be unreliable due to the fact that women more readily admit to this disorder.
Typically socially anxious women will suffer:
Social anxiety problems in children
Children may express their social phobia differently than adults.
In the classroom, they may be reluctant to speak out, ask for help, or voice their need to have concepts explained more thoroughly.
Their social anxiety may prevent them from participating in team sports, shows, choir, or activities requiring public speaking such as debate clubs.
Teenagers may skip school or turn to substance abuse to help them in getting over the social anxiety and social phobia symptoms they feel when in the classroom or having to socialize with peers.
People afflicted with social anxiety disorder find that their fear expresses itself through a variety of symptoms.
Some common social phobia symptoms include:
If you ever question yourself “do I have social anxiety” then have a look at these symptoms and if these occur with a regularity to a great degree then you may need counseling.
The external cues that can trigger social anxiety are as diverse as those who suffer from this mental health disorder. Fear of socializing and fear of social interactions are typical.
Some common triggers include:
All of these triggers have at their root, a fear of being judged by those around us.
Why do people have social anxiety?
Genetics has a role in how anxious a person is; some people seem to be born with a highly-sensitive amygdala, which is the part of the brain that controls emotions as well as the fight or flight response. They are easily triggered by external events, more so than people without social anxiety.
Life experiences can also contribute to social anxiety disorder.
Children who are abused, made to feel unsafe or insecure, teased heavily or bullied, are more likely to develop social anxiety as they mature.
Adults who never develop a sense of their own self-worth and value are likely to suffer social anxiety.
Are you wondering how to get over social anxiety or how to help someone with social anxiety?
For those looking for help in dealing with social anxiety, there are different therapies to help people cope with social anxiety.
There is no single social anxiety solution. The most popular social anxiety treatments include medication for social anxiety and social anxiety support therapy, specifically cognitive behavioral therapy, otherwise known as CBT.
A two-fold approach, using both medications for short-term anxiety management, and therapy for more long term anxiety management, is often prescribed for people with social anxiety as part of their social anxiety disorder treatment plan.
Medications for social anxiety:
How do these medications help?
These medications work by reducing the brain’s neurotransmitters’ response to the external cues that the socially anxious person perceives as threatening.
For those looking for help on getting over social anxiety, Research has shown that cognitive behavioral therapy has a good success rate at helping people manage, reduce or eliminate their social anxiety.
This therapy teaches patients techniques so they can learn to change how they perceive, behave and react in situations that trigger them.
Exposure therapy for social anxiety can be part of treatment, where the patient is gradually introduced to the situations that provoke social anxiety, after which they put into place the techniques learned in order to help reduce and manage social anxiety.
Social therapy or social anxiety therapy may be group-based or individualized.
If you are looking for an answer to the question of how to treat social anxiety, a good way to begin a search for help with this disorder can be found online.
To find help with social anxiety disorder, you can try searching online for “social anxiety therapist near me” to understand the psychology of social anxiety and how to handle anxiety in social situations.
Reaching out to your local mental health services is another excellent way to identify local therapists whom you can contact to set up an initial evaluation and then learn further about how to deal with social anxiety.
This should be one of your first questions when you meet with the social anxiety therapist. There are many different therapies for social anxiety.
Be clear with your fears as well as your goals so that they can come up with a treatment plan that meets your needs.
This will vary according to where you live and the level of training your therapist has.
A psychiatrist, who holds a medical degree and who can prescribe medication, will likely charge more than a therapist who holds a Master's degree in counseling and who cannot prescribe medication.
It will be important for you to ask about rates and if treatment is covered by your insurance plan.