Read: The signs and Symptoms of General Anxiety and Panic Disorder
For some people that initial anxiety is really high and it stays really high over time for those people the fear of being judged negatively by new people might be so daunting that it affects their ability to do their job well.
In fact, even the idea of having to be somewhere where they may be scrutinized by others might make them not want to do the job in the first place this describes social anxiety disorder. It's unclear what causes social anxiety disorder but it's thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors like having a close relative with social anxiety disorder or being exposed to neglect and abuse.
Causes of Social Anxiety Disorder
DSM-5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of The American Psychiatric Association) defines social anxiety disorder as causing individuals to fear acting in a certain way that might make them get judged. It can cause anxiety that interferes with their normal routine, as well as their relationships and what's more is the fear of anxiety is persistent lasting for six or more months.
Usually, social anxiety disorder causes distress for individuals in specific social situations or circumstances. For example, one person might get really anxious when making small talk with acquaintances or meeting new people whereas another person might get performance anxiety and not feel able to give a presentation or give a toast at friend's wedding.
Social anxiety disorder is ego-dystonic condition meaning that people who have the disorder usually understand that their anxiety is unwarranted but unfortunately that awareness can cause more anxiety because they'll fear that others can tell how anxious they are.
Sometimes individuals might worry that they may be having physical symptoms like trembling or blushing that others may notice and judge them for. Sometimes the anxiety can get so severe that it causes something called derealization meaning that a person might feel spaced out and may be less able to recognize their surroundings.
In order to reduce their social inhibitions, some people with social anxiety used drugs and alcohol and that can lead to dependency in addiction. The DSM-5 states that in order to make a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder the fear or avoidance shouldn't be due to the effects of a medication or due to another condition.
That's important because there are key features of social anxiety disorder that overlap with other conditions. For example in generalized anxiety disorder, individuals have anxiety but it's not limited to being judged in a social context the anxiety is usually broader and includes non-social concerns like finances or physical safety.
Another example is agoraphobia, where people avoid public places for fear of being trapped and not being able to escape just in case something embarrassing happens or if they begin to panic. But in of agoraphobia, the fear is less about being judged and more about being trapped in a crowd and not able to escape.
Read: Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) - Treatment and Symptoms
Social Anxiety Disorder Signs and Symptoms
Women develop social anxiety at twice the rate of men, however, women are less likely to report social anxiety and men are more likely to report social anxiety as an ongoing problem. Social anxiety tends to develop in childhood or adolescence and the most common age of appearances between 11 and 16 years old.
If it goes unaddressed it can become a defining part of many important stages of life including high school, college and early work experience. it can rob them of wonderful social opportunities and limit their ability to experience the world.
Surprisingly those who are socially anxious often have excellent social skills, when they are one-on-one in a group they may present a somewhat shy reserved. Where they are extremely socially capable and have a lot of skills that are personally, they continue to search for evidence every moment of every day that they are somehow compromised socially.
You are ten times more likely to develop social anxiety if you have a relative who also as a form of social anxiety. Their family system and early life experiences reinforced social withdrawal is normal and not as a serious mental health issue.
Over the years they become convinced that they lack the social skills to reach out and to develop connections to those around them.
- A persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations
- Fear of exposure to unfamiliar people or two possible scrutinies regularly.
- Worrying that they will humiliate or embarrass themselves - fear of exposure to social situations.
- Panic attacks are confined only to social situations.
- Avoidance or endurance of social or performance situations.
- Intense anxiety or distress during social or performance situations.
- Anxious anticipation of social or performance situations
- Significantly changing their routines to avoid social activities or relationships.
5 Things About Social Anxiety No One Talks About
1. You feel sick literally.
Have you ever felt like passing out before doing public speaking or attending a large social event? Having social anxiety comes with a long burdensome list of physical problems it's more than just the stereotypical sweaty palms and a racing heart.
Depending on the severity of your anxiety level you can experience digestive problems, shortage of breath, muscle tension fatigue, rash breakouts and have cold hands and feet.
2. You don't believe you deserve happiness.
Self-hatred often comes hand-in-hand with social anxiety you might believe you aren't good enough to talk to others so you don't or maybe you blame yourself over trivial matters. Making them bigger than they really are it takes a lot to quiet your inner demons but know that they're wrong, you're only as strong as your mentality.
3. You're familiar with loneliness.
Social anxiety makes it difficult for you to connect with others. if you have trouble opening up and being vulnerable it can leave you feeling trapped and hopeless.
4. Just because someone is an introvert.
Doesn't mean they have social anxiety and just because someone is an extrovert it doesn't mean they're free from social anxiety, not all introverts are shy and not all of them struggle with social anxiety whereas extroverts aren't always confident and may secretly deal with social anxiety.
It's never good to judge someone based on their personality everyone's fighting a battle and you never know if social anxiety is one of them or not, so be kind to people and never assume.
5. If left untreated.
Social anxiety can lead to substance abuse depression and even suicide. social anxiety can be a serious mental health disorder.
Depending on the severity it can influence people to resort to drugs to cope for instance people might become alcoholics when they relay alcohol to get through social events.
They might even start to have suicidal thoughts if they don't seek help for it social anxiety is more than just a fear of interacting with others it can be dangerous and life-threatening at its worst.
Read: Me, Myself, and I - Dissociative Identity Disorder
Social Anxiety in Adults
This disorder is characterized by an intense fear of being negatively judged by others,
We all have this fear to some degree those suffering from social anxiety disorder are often unable to push past it causing them to avoid the situations in their lives that trigger these feelings.
These are common signs of social anxiety disorder fear of being noticeably nervous obsessive worrying anticipate Horry anxiety over social interactions and performance situations over-dependence on technology for the purpose of avoiding face-to-face interaction, over-dependence on prescription or recreational drugs or alcohol to function in social situations.
Problems and conversations or the fear of not knowing what to say, this intense fear and worrying can manifest itself in physical symptoms such as blushing increased heart rate shaking or tremors, dizziness or feeling funny and shortness of breath.
Situations that often trigger a reaction involve interactions with other people or the possibility of being the focus of others attention such as speaking in public, eating or writing in public, meeting new people and making friends dating and romantic relationships or social encounters with strangers.
The disorder can be selective some people may have an intense fear of talking to a salesperson or giving a speech but they may be comfortable ordering in a restaurant or in other situations. Others may become anxious during routine activities such as starting a conversation with a stranger or a person authority, speaking up in meetings or classes, dating or attending parties.
Social anxiety disorder rarely travels alone, people may have more than one anxiety disorder as well as depression.
How To Treat Social Anxiety
Treatment usually involves psychotherapy medication or a combination of the two if it's psychotherapy cognitive behavioural therapy is recommended since it teaches a person new ways of thinking and behaviours to help them in being around others anteater presence on the most common choice of medication.
Specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or SNRIs as well as benzodiazepines and beta blockers. SSRIs help regulate serotonin levels in the brain, while SNR eyes help regulate serotonin norepinephrine and dopamine to manage anxiety.
Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs that have a relaxing effect and beta blockers can help ease the physical symptoms of performance anxiety. Though medication can be effective in the short term, cognitive behavioural therapy has more advantages in the long term due to the potential of unwanted side effects.
People with social anxiety disorder have heightened anxiety about acting in a way or showing symptoms of anxiety that will be negatively scrutinized by others.
The anxiety that is restricted only to performance is a specific type of social anxiety. The anxiety is almost always present in a particular social situation and it's severe enough that it interferes with the normal course of life.
Read: Anxiety Disorders - Specific and Social Phobias