Social Anxiety can be Triggered by these Situations
Do you or a loved one feel anxious or even fearful when around people other than your close family members and friends? Social anxiety, or social phobia, is the third most common mental health issue that Americans face, and it impacts 7% of the population at a given time. Numerous settings can trigger social anxiety, including dating, job interviews, attending social functions, public speaking, attending school or participating in business meetings. When social anxiety persists it can be a lifestyle-changing problem that robs you of your enjoyment. At its core, social anxiety is more about the fear of being judged negatively by others than it is about not wanting to interact with them in the first place.
Clinicians define social anxiety as being either generalized or non-generalized in nature. An individual with generalized social anxiety typically avoids most all social situations due to the fear of being viewed negatively by others. Someone with non-generalized social anxiety seems fine most of the time but feels anxious when involved in certain social situations that trigger their anxiety, like dating or giving a work presentation. Most all of us occasionally experience some social anxiety during our lives because we value how others perceive us. But when social anxiety is severe and persistent, one’s ability to interact with others becomes stressful and sometimes impossible. As a result, many people with social anxiety eventually give up trying to build relationships with others, even though deep down they desire to do so.
What are the Symptoms of Social Anxiety?
Individuals that suffer from social anxiety oftentimes want to experience social interactions, be part of a group and have friends, but instead their condition makes them come across to others as being shy, withdrawn or simply disinterested in socializing. When you or someone close to you experiences social anxiety, one or more of these signs will appear:
- Increased heart rate and/or sweating
- Bodily shaking
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling faint
- Persistent negative thoughts such as: “I don’t fit in”, or “No one here likes me”
- Apologizing often and/or seeking constant reassurance from others
- Spending an excessive amount of time preparing for social encounters
- Leaving a social situation abruptly or avoiding them altogether
Researchers have found that social anxiety originates due to one or more factors, including a person’s genetic makeup, localized abnormal brain activity, and/or negative life experiences that may be linked back to the patient’s childhood. If you or a loved one suffers from social anxiety, the good news is that it’s treatable using several therapy methods including individualized outpatient counseling.
How Outpatient Counseling Benefits Social Anxiety Patients
Most of the proven treatment approaches for social anxiety involve professional counseling, or coaching, sessions. Individual therapy sessions typically focus on these effective methods:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which identifies strategies to overcome anxiety while developing healthy coping mechanisms
- Social skills training to build stronger interpersonal communication tools
- Exposing the patient to situations they tend to avoid, and uncomfortable sensations resulting from their anxiety, in an effort to overcome their fears
- Encouraging the patient to perform random acts of kindness towards others which promotes positive feedback and a renewed sense of well-being
On occasion, a licensed psychiatric nurse practitioner or psychiatrist may prescribe antianxiety or antidepressant medications in addition to counseling sessions. The good news for you or someone you care about who experiences social anxiety is that there professional coaches available to help guide you through the healing process.
Thriveworks Henrico, VA Counselors Understand Social Anxiety
As we’ve seen, when you or someone you care about experiences social anxiety it can negatively interfere with your life. Untreated, social anxiety can disrupt your normal daily activities including relationships, schooling and job performance. You don’t have to go it alone any longer. At Thriveworks Short Pump, our compassionate and helpful counselors understand social anxiety and will assist you in developing coping skills in an effort to overcome its tight grip as you progress down the road to a healthier, happier and more confident you! For more information on our social anxiety counseling services, or how to become a certified Thriveworks Short Pump coach, call: (804) 205-3408 today or visit our Contact page now.