Social anxiety is an experience of fear, apprehension or worry regarding social situations and being evaluated by others. People vary in how often they experience anxiety in this way or in which kinds of situations. Anxiety about public speaking, performance, or interviews is common. Social anxiety can be related to shyness. The experience is commonly described as having physiological components (e.g. sweating, blushing), cognitive/perceptual components (e.g. belief that one may be judged negatively; looking for signs of disapproval) and behavioral components (e.g. avoiding a situation)
Cognitive distortions are a hallmark, and learned about in CBT. Thoughts are often self-defeating and inaccurate. Some sufferers may use alcohol or other drugs to reduce fears and inhibitions at social events. Social anxiety disorder may co-occur with other anxiety disorders as well as depression. Additionally, people with social anxiety may develop problems with substance abuse or dependence when they use drinking or drugs to “self-medicate” their symptoms. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of antidepressants, are considered by many to be the first choice medication for generalised social phobia. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may be helpful in the treatment of social anxiety disorder. MAOIs and benzodiazepines may require more monitoring than other medications. Beta blockers are sometimes used with performance anxiety, a specific kind of social anxiety.
Causes of Social Anxiety Disorder
Common Causes and Risk factors of Social Anxiety Disorder
Neurochemical and neurocognitive influences.
New social or work demands.
What Are the Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder?
Many people with social anxiety disorder feel that there is “something wrong,” but don’t recognize their feeling as a sign of illness. Symptoms include:
* Intense anxiety in social situations.
* Avoidance of social situations.
* Physical symptoms of anxiety, including confusion, pounding heart, sweating, shaking, blushing, muscle tension, upset stomach and diarrhea.
Children with this disorder may express their anxiety by crying, clinging to a parent or throwing a tantrum.
Alternative Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder
Common Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of antidepressants, are considered by many to be the first choice medication for generalised social phobia.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may be helpful in the treatment of social anxiety disorder. It teaches people with social anxiety disorder to react differently to the situations that trigger their anxiety symptoms.
Practicing these techniques regularly can help you manage or reduce your anxiety. You may need to begin with small steps in situations that aren’t overwhelming.
These techniques include:
* Eating with a close relative, friend or acquaintance in a public setting.
* Making eye contact and returning greetings from others, or being the first to say hello.
* Preparing for conversation. For instance, read the newspaper to identify an interesting story you can talk about.
* Giving someone a compliment.
* Focusing on personal qualities you like about yourself.
Social Skills Training: After avoiding certain social situations for an extended time, it is not surprising that some people with social anxiety disorder might develop some bad habits in social situations, including making poor eye contact, and engaging in other anxious behaviors. They may also find it difficult to think of what to say during a conversation or date. Or, they may lack certain basic public speaking skills. If this is the case, CBT may include social skills training as a component. Examples include teaching an individual how to make the best impression during a job interview, how to be more assertive, and how to use nonverbal communication (e.g., body language, eye contact) more effectively.