Anxiety in some social settings is a normal part of human life. It is normal to feel nervous before addressing a congregation for the first time or participating in a public debate. Feeling uneasy when interacting with strangers is also considered normal.
If the anxiety happens daily and affects a person’s normal life, it may be wise to seek treatment. For instance, if the anxiety impacts relationships, work, business, or school activities, the person may need help with social anxiety. Luckily, social anxiety treatment in Orange County is available at First Light Recovery. With the right help, patients can cope with social anxiety and live a normal life.
Social anxiety disorder or social phobia is a common anxiety condition. The disorder fills a person with extreme fear of scrutiny, evaluation, or judgment from others. As a result, people suffering from social anxiety disorder experience unhealthy levels of self-consciousness. They may also experience embarrassment whenever they are in social places.
A person with social anxiety has challenges speaking in public or meeting new people. The condition can also make it difficult for individuals to date or establish new relationships. Students may also experience challenges answering questions in class, while job seekers score low in job interviews.
In some cases, social phobia can affect one’s ability to shop or eat in public places. Patients may also feel too embarrassed to use public restrooms.
If patients do not get help, the feeling of embarrassment and the fear of scrutiny impacts their productivity. Workers may eventually lose their confidence to continue working, while students may drop out of school. Although some people with a social anxiety disorder may complete some tasks in public, they experience fear. Mostly, the fear of the social event begins days or weeks before the occasion.
Getting help from qualified mental health personnel can equip the patient with coping mechanisms to overcome the fear.
The cause of social anxiety is still unknown. A social anxiety disorder may also run in a family, which points to hereditary factors. Research has found evidence that genetic factors affect the brain to cause the chronic fear of social places and strangers. However, it is not known why some family members may exhibit symptoms of social phobia while others do not.
Environmental factors and stress also play a role in exacerbating the disorder. Researchers continue to develop targeted treatment methods by studying how the brain behaves.
Generalized anxiety and social anxiety disorder may present almost similar symptoms. The two conditions used a similar diagnostic manual before the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, the two conditions are different. Generalized anxiety disorder causes a feeling of fear over everyday events, whether in social or out of social places.
On the other hand, a social anxiety disorder causes anxiety in social events only. Patients with generalized anxiety disorder experience uncontrollable worries about many future events. It does not matter whether the events are in social places or are private matters.
The patients will worry about their finances, family affairs, employment, upcoming job interviews, and any other event in life. Social anxiety disorder causes extreme fear of major social events. However, those that suffer from generalized anxiety disorder worry about their minor day-to-day functions.
In some cases, patients with generalized anxiety disorder do not worry about social events. Their worries revolve around their private issues. Unlike social anxiety, where the patient worries about evaluation, people with generalized anxiety worry about the consequences of their actions.
Social anxiety signs and symptoms begin in the early to mid-teens. However, they might start in childhood or early adulthood. There are two groups of symptoms;
The emotional and behavioral symptoms of social anxiety disorder may include;
A patient with a social anxiety disorder may experience any of the following physical signs;
People with social anxiety develop avoidance behavior that may include;
A social anxiety disorder may impact an individual’s social life. However, individuals with social anxiety can get help from health care providers after a diagnosis. With proper treatment, people with social anxiety can live a normal life. Treatment comprises psychotherapy and medication.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most common psychotherapy approach to treating social anxiety disorder. CBT helps the patient develop coping mechanisms when participating in social events. Patients learn social skills and relaxation abilities through CBT to help them cope with anxiety.
People with social anxiety may also get help from group therapy. Group therapy is a form of talk therapy that brings together people with social anxiety. They can then learn from each under the guidance of a professional therapist.
Health care providers may also prescribe medication to treat social anxiety disorder. Common medication includes;