Social anxiety or Social Phobia, the third largest mental problem, is a disease worth talking about. It can affect anybody at any time during the lifespan. Social anxiety related to a feeling of nervousness, confusion and not able to confront any social situation. This generally leads one to avoid any form of social gathering, hiding from family events or worse, being isolated into one’s own comfortable space. This has a negative effect on overall general well-being and mental growth of the person. It not only needs to be understood but spread awareness about and to educate the masses about its occurrence and how to cope up and support people suffering from it.
It can be categorized as Specific Social Anxiety which relates to confronting large groups only, while generalized Social Anxiety is a feeling of confusion almost in every situation.
Social Anxiety Causes
Like any other mental illness, there is no single cause to pinpoint at. Some common causes of social anxiety may preclude:
Although there is not a lot of evidence in this regard, but social anxiety can be hereditary and passed along generations.
It can also be a result of the overactive amygdala, which is the portion of the brain that controls the response to fear. A heightened sense of fear may cause the individual to hide from social gathering and facing people.
Some teenagers may develop social anxiety as a result of bullying or shaming. A history of family abuse shows children being reluctant to face any group of people simply because they are ashamed of themselves and cannot come to face their personality.
Sometimes constant harassment or being made fun of publicly causes the individual to lose their self-confidence. They prefer to live in their comfort zone which is simply their isolated places.
Teenagers being made fun of or bullied due to any of their physical deficiency such as being fat, anorexic, from another caste, handicapped or any other feature making them stand out from the crowd.
Social Anxiety treatment
Social Anxiety Treatment depends upon the extent to which one is suffering from it. It can be difficult to treat as many patients do not realize their illness and some may even avoid confronting it and talking to a professional. Social pressure surrounding mental illness may also cause an individual to hide the disorder and not able to treat it properly. There can be various types of Social Anxiety Treatments:
Natural or Home Remedies:
- Learn to manage your stress levels
- Avoid alcohol or substance abuse
- Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet
- Try to exercise and include healthy activities
- Set a proper routine for yourself
- Try to indulge in healthy activities with people around
- Identify your inhibitions and setbacks. Learn to accept your fears and your mistakes and work on being a better and confident person
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used psychotherapy to treat social phobia. It includes facing your fears and inhibitions and learning to overcome them as a successful individual, It also helps one to build up enough confidence so that they can easily face any sort of social gathering, facing a large group of people without any chance of being confused or nervous. It helps people to practice your social skills by focusing on your positive roles and qualities, It helps people to eliminate the thought of being negative or feeling anxiously related to any of their flaws.
Social anxiety is basically the fear of connecting with people. One way to overcome your fear is to meet people on a small level. Meeting and connecting with people fighting the same battles and facing the same challenges can be helpful and uplifting. Listening to others stories can help one to realize how to cope up and gather enough support from like-minded people.
Social Anxiety Treatment may include some medications, which may temporarily help people to overcome the symptoms of depression which in turn can cause social anxiety. This includes use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s), such as Sertraline or Paroxetine.
Anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications may also be given so that the patient does not feel depressed or worse, suicidal.
To reduce palpitations, increased heart rate and sweating, beta blockers are also prescribed.
Since these medications may cause a person to feel addicted to them, therefore they should be started at a lower dose and taken until the individual feels better and able to overcome some part of the disorder.
Alternative medications may include calming one down with the use of several herbs and teas. This may include use of theanine, passion flower, kava or valerian. Although research doesn’t suggest any major benefit, they just help in calming the individual down and can be offered as a symptomatic treatment.
Social Anxiety Symptoms
Social anxiety is very much apart from plain shyness. Shyness can be overcome with time. Meanwhile, in Social Anxiety, the fear is so intense that it can affect a person emotionally and physically. It shatters the self-confidence of a person, affects their educational, family and work life. Some people might be able to face a few situations, while others may avoid such situations altogether. Some common symptoms include:
- Trying to avoid everyday activities, such as meeting new people, trying to initiate conversations, attending someone’s’ call, working on a job or shopping around
- avoid or stress a great deal over social exercises, for example, any group discussions, eating with the organization, and attending events
- Always stressing over accomplishing something you believe is humiliating, for example, reddening, sweating or seeming shy
- finding it hard to do things when others are watching you-you may feel like you’re being watched and judged constantly
- fear feedback, maintain a strategic distance from eye to eye connection or have low confidence
- Often have trouble over minute things, for example, feeling out of breath, sweating, trembling or a beating pulse (palpitations)
- have freeze expressions (where you have a staggering feeling of dread and nervousness, typically just for a couple of minutes)
Numerous individuals with social anxiety likewise have other emotional well-being issues, for example, wretchedness, lot of nervousness issue or body – related issues.
- Flushing of face
- Excessive sweating
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty focusing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Stomach upset and pain
- Tensed muscles
- Dizziness or fainting
- Some situations can also trigger social anxiety such as:
- Being made fun of in a large group of people
- Being forced to talk in front of a mass of people
- Meeting strangers and starting a conversation
- Being observed while performing a task
- Eating or drinking in front of public
- Exploring new relationships
- Attending phone calls
- Trying to get a point across
- Talking to the head or authority.
Social Anxiety Cure
- Get help at the earliest stage possible. Realize that you need a professional to help calm you down and help you live your life in a better way.
- Write a journal. Writing can help you overcome your inhibitions. You can write and focus on your goals and aspirations.
- Talk it out. Discuss your problems with a close friend, relative or someone you can trust on. This will help you overcome your boundaries and you will also feel a lot lighter.
- Avoid turning to drugs substance abuse. Alcohol or drugs may provide as a way to comfort you and to cut off from the reality for a little while. This can be dangerous as it can lead to abuse and further deterioration of mental and physical health.
- Indulge in physical activities’, like sports, walking or jogging. This diverts your mind from the nervousness and confusion.
- Take help of support groups. Learn to indulge in social activity one by one. Listening to other people’s story can help you overcome your own ordeals.
- Parents can also help their children in overcoming their anxiety, by being there friends and sharing stories and their anecdotes with them.
- Talking to people with similar experiences also helps one to realize that it could have been much worse than their current situation. It makes the individual realize that they are not alone in this condition and that they just need to reach out to others.
- Know when to turn to a professional or take medications. Taking help of medications at an earlier stage may not be helpful as it can leave the individual with side effects. Learn to manage physical symptoms one by one. Take medications or herbs only where necessary. Do not experiment with new therapies as it can only do more harm than good.
- Taking small steps is the key. You cannot overcome your fears in a day. Each day is a different battle to be fought. Having a good support system and positive thinking is the way to go. Each day shall pass, and even the hardest circumstances are going to be over soon.
Overcoming Social Anxiety
Overcoming Social Anxiety is a Continuous Process. There are no convenient solutions for defeating this phobia. Quite a bit of it includes gradually separating every individual inhibition and transforming negative thoughts into positive thinking with the goal that you’re not making get-togethers to be overwhelmingly negative. It takes some courage and a huge step to conquer social phobia too, which infers that you should have the capacity to submit before you should start. On the off chance that you let yourself fall once more into the old ways, you make managing social anxiety considerably more troublesome.
Understand that overcoming social anxiety needs practice and taking small, baby steps. To start with, consider your feelings of hiding away to distinguish what circumstances cause the most nervousness. At that point step by step regularly carry out these exercises until the point that they cause you less nervousness. Start with little strides by defining every day or week by week objectives in circumstances that aren’t overpowering. The more you rehearse, the less on edge you’ll feel.
Consider to practice every day. Eat with a nearby relative, companion or colleague in an outdoor environment so you feel less stressed out. Purposefully look and return welcome from others, or be the first to make proper acquaintance. Give somebody a compliment. Ask help from a salesperson during your shopping trips. Show an enthusiasm for others — get some information about their homes, kids, grandchildren, leisure activities or voyages, etc. Call a companion to make arrangements for any event.
Get ready for social mingling. At the initial step, being social when you’re feeling on edge is testing. As troublesome or agonizing as it might appear to be at first, don’t keep away from circumstances that trigger your nervousness. By consistently confronting these sorts of circumstances, you’ll proceed to assemble and strengthen your flaws.
Some of these methodologies can enable you to start to confront circumstances that make you anxious:
- Prepare for discussion, for instance, by going through the daily paper to recognize any intriguing story you can discuss.
- Focus on individual characteristics you like about yourself.
- Practice to relieve stress
- Learn stretching and exercising
- Set practical objectives.
- Pay consideration regarding how frequently the circumstances you’re anxious about really occur. You may see that the situations you fear more often than not don’t happen.
- When any embarrassing situation does happen, advise yourself that this time will pass, and you can deal with them until the point when they do. The vast majority around you either doesn’t see or couldn’t care less as much as you think, or they’re more lenient than you accept.
Abstain from utilizing drugs or alcohol to quiet your nerves. It might appear like it helps incidentally, yet over the long period of time, it can influence you to feel more restless.
Gathering Support from your love ones can also help a lot. Routinely connect with loved ones. Join a nearby or trustworthy web-based care group. Join a gathering that offers chances to enhance your confidence and open talking abilities. Do pleasurable or unwinding exercises, for example, listen to music when you feel restless, or do some other creative activity such as painting or sculpting.
After some time, these adapting strategies can help control your side effects and help you overcome negative thoughts. Advise yourself that you can get past the difficult times, that your nervousness is fleeting and that the negative outcomes you stress over so much once in a while happen.
Take help from professional when needed. You may see your essential care specialist or your specialist may refer you some other professional to help you out. Before you begin to go to counseling, gather some information like:
- Any side effects you’ve been encountering, and for to what extent, including any indications that may appear to be disconnected to the purpose of your arrangement
- Some information, particularly any critical occasions or changes throughout your life without further ado before your illness showed up
- Medical data, including other physical or emotional wellness conditions with which you’ve been analyzed
- Any meds, vitamins, herbs or different supplements you’re taking, including doses
Also prepare to ask questions to you, specialist or counselor. You might need to ask a confided in relative or companion to run with you to your meeting, to enable you to recollect any information you may be missing out on. A few things to ask your specialist may include:
- What may be the major cause behind it
- Can there be any logical reasoning
- How will you diagnose my condition?
- Should I see any specific counselor?
- Is my condition hereditary or due to any other reason?
- Should I take any medications to overcome my fears?
- With treatment, might I be able to improve in the long run, in the circumstances that make me so on the edge now?
- Am I at the risk of any other disorder?
- Are there any pamphlets or another written word that I can have? What sites do you prescribe?
Social Anxiety Medication
Social Anxiety Treatment may be done with medicines. Although it is best if paired with Psychotherapy to deal with such patients, medication alone shows no proper improvement. Symptomatic treatment may be done where physical symptoms can be treated with allopathy, such as lowering down heart rate, controlling nausea, upset stomach etc. Using anti-depressants or “Happy pills” to overcome the feeling of being sad or low. Anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines can also be prescribed. Other options include mood to lift up the behavior such as SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) such as Sertraline or Paroxetine. Your doctor may also prescribe you other medications such as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) venlafaxine.
Alternative medicine may also be used but has no evidence to improve the symptoms of Social Phobia or depression.