Social Anxiety

What is social anxiety?

Everyone experiences the occasional feelings of social anxiety in certain situations. Whether it’s a first date or an important presentation in front of your colleagues, most people are no stranger to feelings of shyness and self-consciousness in a social setting. However, individuals with social anxiety experience these feelings more regularly. Social anxiety is a condition that causes intense fear and anxiety in everyday social interactions. Individuals with social anxiety often fear being judged, embarrassed, or scrutinized in social settings. This can lead to avoidance behaviours, stress, and the disruption of their daily routine and relationships. Social anxiety typically starts during late childhood and occurs more frequently in women than in men. It is one of the most common anxiety disorders, affecting approximately 10% of the population. If left untreated, social anxiety can be debilitating and result in an overall decrease in quality of life. Luckily, social anxiety is highly treatable with many effective treatment options to choose from!    

What are the symptoms of social anxiety?

Social anxiety includes a range of emotional, physical, and behavioral symptoms.

Emotional symptoms include fear of:

● Situations in which you may be perceived negatively

● Interacting with strangers

● Embarrassing yourself in front of others

Physical symptoms that may be present during specific types of social situations include:

● Sweating

● Blushing

● Trembling

● Rapid heartbeat    

● Shortness of breath

● Rigid posture

● Reduced eye contact

● Nausea

● Dizziness

● Trouble concentrating

Individuals with social anxiety find it hard to endure everyday experiences. They may use avoidance strategies such as staying silent, avoiding eye contact, or leaving social situations early. They may also avoid common social interactions such as:

● Work meetings     

● School

● Parties

● Dating

● Starting a conversation with a stranger

● Making eye-contact with others

● Returning items to a store

● Eating in front of others

● Asking for help in a public setting    

What causes social anxiety?

Like other forms of anxiety, the exact cause of social anxiety is not fully understood. What we do know is that it involves a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. These may include family history, a traumatic life event, or other mental health conditions. Regardless of the cause, the same treatments are still effective!     

How can I get help for social anxiety?

Social anxiety is generally treated with therapy, medication, or a combination of both      Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of treatment for social anxiety. CBT often helps individuals identify and challenge negative thoughts and behavioral patterns. This method of therapy is flexible and adaptive to each person’s specific needs. As a result, you learn how to cope with stress and anxiety as well as practice effective social skills.

While anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications have also been found to be effective at managing symptoms of social anxiety, CBT is often just as effective with longer lasting results!     

With the proper support and guidance, you can manage your symptoms and thrive in social situations. At Connect Cognitive Therapy, we have clinicians who are highly skilled in techniques such as CBT, who are committed to a personal approach to meet individual needs and help you maximize your overall well-being. Social anxiety can be a struggle at times, but we are here to help you manage it with compassionate understanding and expertise. If you are interested in learning more about our treatment plans for social anxiety, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for more information or visit our online booking site to schedule your first appointment!