Social anxiety disorder is a common mental health condition in people that is characterized by the fear of social situations like- people, crowded places, being watched or judged by anyone, fear of embarrassment and rejection, etc. Also known as social phobia, social anxiety is related to anxiety- feeling anxious in certain situations like going to a party, presenting something in front of people, going on a date, talking to unknown people, etc, and it affects one’s personal and professional life that can last longer if left untreated. Here are the causes, symptoms, and treatments for social anxiety disorder social phobia that will give you an insight into what you need to know.
Social anxiety or social phobia can arise from a lot of complex factors including biological and environmental factors, some possible causes are-
Family history: If any person has the disorder in their families such as in their parents or siblings then there is a tendency for them to develop the same traits.
Early experiences: There is a great possibility for people who have faced traumatic physical or mental experiences such as domestic abuse, sexual abuse, etc to develop social anxiety in their childhood and adulthood.
Environment: Social phobia is often a learned behavior, people living in such situations that causes them anxiety like having any negative, unpleasant, or embarrassing experience in certain times can make them develop symptoms of social anxiety.
Some people link shyness and introvertedness with social anxiety but in reality, they are much more different, it is not necessary that an introvert or a shy person will have the same symptoms as someone who has social anxiety. Here are few symptoms for a better understanding-
Excessive worry about embarrassing yourself and physical symptoms like blushing, fast heartbeat, muscle tension, dizziness, shaky voice, sweating, etc.
Intense fear of talking to strangers and feeling anxious about their reaction, judgment, or humiliation.
Avoiding places where you could be the center of attention, avoiding eye contact, starting conversations, eating in front of others, entering a room full of other peoples, etc,
Feeling that your mind has gone blank and you cannot think anymore.
If left untreated for a long time, social phobia can increase and eventually wreck your overall well-being; It can also cause low confidence, hypersensitivity, anxiety attacks, depression, low self-esteem, low performance in school/work, etc. However, there are ways to treat social anxiety disorder and a mental health professional can help you to recover from it. Some of the treatments include-
Psychotherapy or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatment methods.
Practicing mindfulness exercises, slowly increasing social interactions, being with people who make you feel comfortable, keeping a daily journal to monitor feelings, etc.
Medications can help with severe conditions but always after consulting with a mental health care professional.
Certain lifestyle changes and practicing healthy habits can also help to treat social anxiety disorder social phobia, if you know someone who has such conditions then try to make them feel comfortable around you, recommend them a good psychologist, and encourage them to take steps towards recovery.