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What Are The Symptoms Of Social Anxiety

What Does It Feel Like

Social Anxiety Disorder – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

Again, the experience may be different for everyone, but if you have social anxiety and youâre in a stressful situation, you may feel:

  • Very self-conscious in social situations
  • A persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being judged by others
  • Shy and uncomfortable when being watched
  • Hesitant to talk to others
  • The need to avoid eye contact

You also might have physical symptoms such as:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Inability to catch breath
  • An âout-of-bodyâ sensation

You may start having symptoms and getting anxious immediately before an event, or you might spend weeks worrying about it. Afterward, you could spend a lot of time and mental energy worrying about how you acted.

Living With Social Anxiety

Although social anxiety disorder is a chronic mental health condition, there are things you can do to help you manage your diagnosis. Treatment plans may include a combination of therapy, support groups, and/or medication.

Getting Psychotherapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that is especially helpful for treating social anxiety disorder. CBT teaches you alternative ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting and can in turn help lessen some of your anxieties and fears.

With CBT, you may also be able to practice social skills. This type of therapy can be done in either a one-on-one or group setting.

Attending Support Groups

Although social gatherings can be distressing for people with social anxiety, support groups in which every member deals with the same issues as you do can provide a chance for unbiased feedback as well as understanding. You can also learn how others deal with social anxiety, which might give you some new tools to try.

Taking Medication

If your doctor diagnoses you with social anxiety disorder, they may prescribe you one of the following types of medications:

Because you can build up a tolerance for anti-anxiety medications, they are usually prescribed for short-term use. However, they begin working right away and can significantly improve some of the feelings associated with anxiety.

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How Is It Diagnosed

You must have three features to be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder:

  • Your symptoms must not be the result of some other mental health condition .
  • You feel anxious entirely or mostly in social situations.
  • One of your main symptoms will be the avoidance of social situations.

As well as discussing your problems, your doctor or practice nurse may use a short questionnaire to obtain extra information on how severely you are affected.

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Telling Others About Your Social Anxiety

It’s likely your closest family and friends already have an idea of your social anxiety. If you want to tell someone specific, send a message that there is something you’d like to share and arrange a time at a quiet place to talk.

If you feel too nervous to explain your situation, write down a summary of what you’ve been feeling. It’s best to share your symptoms so that the other person can gain an understanding of what you are going through.

Remember that not everyone will know the ins and outs of social anxiety disorder some people may need some help to understand what you’re going through.

When Should I Talk To My Doctor About Social Anxiety

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First, it’s important to know that you are not abnormal if you have social anxiety. Many people have it. If you have unusually high anxiety and fear about social situations, talk openly with your doctor about treatment. If left untreated, social anxiety disorder may lead to depression, drug or alcohol problems, school or work problems, and a poor quality of life.

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Avoidant Behaviors Of Social Anxiety Disorder

While poor performance and a lack of well-developed social skills can limit social anxiety sufferers in many ways, it is their avoidance of situations they find highly stressful or potentially threatening that really holds them back.

Forming friendships or romantic relationships, pursuing the career of their dreams or applying for jobs, attending college or graduate school, taking art or music lessons, getting involved in sports, or volunteering to help causes they support can all be problematic for social anxiety disorder sufferers.

Regardless of their true interests or ambitions, they feel compelled to choose paths that minimize their exposure to dangerous social situationseven though doing so sabotages their happiness and dooms them to spending their lives alone.

The list of social situations that make social anxiety sufferers nervous and avoidant include:

If theyre accompanied by, or have the assistance of, family members or friends, social anxiety sufferers may be able to cope with situations that would otherwise overwhelm them. But continuously relying on the help and support of others only reinforces the hold social anxiety has over their lives, and until they can learn to do things on their own their social phobia will remain in charge.

Social Anxiety Disorder: More Than Just Shyness

Are you extremely afraid of being judged by others?

Are you very self-conscious in everyday social situations?

Do you avoid meeting new people?

If you have been feeling this way for at least six months and these feelings make it hard for you to do everyday taskssuch as talking to people at work or schoolyou may have a social anxiety disorder.

Social anxiety disorder is a mental health condition. It is an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. This fear can affect work, school, and your other day-to-day activities. It can even make it hard to make and keep friends. But social anxiety disorder doesnt have to stop you from reaching your potential. Treatment can help you overcome your symptoms.

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What Is Selective Mutism

Some kids and teens are so extremely shy and so fearful about talking to others, that they don’t speak at all to some people or in certain places . This form of social phobia is sometimes called selective mutism.

People with selective mutism can talk. They have completely normal conversations with the people they’re comfortable with or in certain places. But other situations cause them such extreme anxiety that they may not be able to bring themselves to talk at all.

Some people might mistake their silence for a stuck-up attitude or rudeness. But with selective mutism and social phobia, silence stems from feeling uncomfortable and afraid, not from being uncooperative, disrespectful, or rude.

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Tell your family and friends what you are experiencing. Help them to understand that telling you to just relax or ignore your fears wont help. Tell them that what you need instead is their support and encouragement for you to slowly understand and face your anxiety, one small step at a time. They can also help by coming to social situations with you so you dont need to manage on your own.

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What Can I Do About Social Anxiety Disorder

If your social anxiety keeps you from doing things you want or need to do, or from making or keeping friends, you may need treatment.

Talk about your fears and worries with a doctor or therapist who has experience treating social anxiety disorder. They will be able to tell if you have normal social anxiety or if you need treatment.

How To Practice Deep Breathing

  • Count the number of breaths that you take in one minute . Make a note of this number. The average person will take 10 to 12 breaths per minute.
  • Focus on your breathing. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Take deep breaths from your diaphragm instead of shallow breaths from your chest. Inhale for 3 seconds and exhale for 3 seconds . As you exhale, think ârelaxâ and release tension in your muscles. Continue breathing this way for 5 minutes.
  • Count your breaths per minute again and see if the number has gone down.
  • Practice this breathing technique a few times per day when you are already relaxed. It may help to start practicing when you first wake up and before you go to sleep.
  • When in social situations, make sure that you are breathing the way that you practiced. In time, this way of breathing may become more automatic.

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    Diagnosing Social Anxiety Disorder

    There is no medical test to check for social anxiety disorder. Your healthcare provider will diagnose social phobia from a description of your symptoms. They can also diagnose social phobia after examining certain behavioral patterns.

    During your appointment, your healthcare provider will ask you to explain your symptoms. They will also ask you to talk about situations that cause your symptoms. The criteria for social anxiety disorder includes:

    • a constant fear of social situations due to fear of humiliation or embarrassment
    • feeling anxious or panicky before a social interaction
    • a realization that your fears are unreasonable
    • anxiety that disrupts daily living

    Where Can I Get A Social Anxiety Test

    Social Anxiety Disorder Definition

    Your healthcare provider is your first point of call to assess whether you might meet the criteria to be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. Your doctor will do an assessment to determine if your symptoms are caused by any underlying physical health conditions. Your doctor may then refer you to a psychiatrist or a psychologist who specializes in diagnosing anxiety disorders.

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    Psychological Social Anxiety Symptoms

    If you have social anxiety disorder, you might also experience psychological signs and symptoms that affect how you think and feel. These might manifest as:

    • feelings of dread before work, school, or social events
    • fear, stress, or panic in social settings
    • brain fog during conversations
    • eating in front of others
    • talking on the phone when others are present
    • being watched while working

    This list highlights some common fears people with social anxiety disorder may experience, but its not comprehensive. You may find that a completely different social situation triggers your social anxiety.

    Up to 90% of people with social anxiety disorder have a co-occurring condition, meaning that they have two conditions simultaneously. Its not uncommon for someone with social anxiety disorder to also experience depression or substance use issues, for instance.

    It can also be easy to confuse another condition for social anxiety disorder because they have symptoms in common. Some conditions that have symptoms in common with social anxiety include:

    Finding Help For Severe Social Anxiety

    Despite the depth and intensity of its symptoms, severe social anxiety is highly responsive to treatment. The first step is to receive an accurate diagnosis for the condition , and once that takes place the recovery process can begin.

    And the age of diagnosis is irrelevantanyone can eventually overcome the most disabling symptoms of social anxiety disorder, if theyre willing to ask for help.

    Recovery regimens for social anxiety sufferers usually include a combination of psychotherapy , medication , social and life skills training, andholistic mind-body techniques for stress management and improved emotional control. Long-term care for social anxiety is a necessity in most cases, withcounseling and therapy at the forefront of the recovery program.

    For those who feel overwhelmed by severe social anxiety symptoms, and for those with co-occurring mental or behavioral health conditions, inpatient treatment programs administered by mental health professionals in a residential treatment facility can be tremendously beneficial.

    In this peaceful environment, social anxiety sufferers will receive full, complete, and unconditional support from staff and peers alike.Evidence-based therapies and complementary treatment services will be provided by experts who understand the depth of suffering that severe social anxiety can cause.

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    Social Anxiety And Alcohol

    Although alcohol may ease symptoms in the short term, don’t be fooled that drinking helps to cure social anxiety. In the long run, it does not. Drinking alcohol to ‘calm nerves’ can lead to problem drinking and may make problems with social anxiety worse in the long term. Consult a doctor if you are drinking alcohol to ease social anxiety.

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    No matter how awkward or nervous you feel in the company of others, you can learn to silence self-critical thoughts, boost your self-esteem, and become more confident and secure in your interactions with others. You dont have to change your personality. By simply learning new skills and adopting a different outlook you can overcome your fears and anxiety and build rewarding friendships.

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    Signs And Symptoms Of Social Anxiety Disorder

    Just because you occasionally get nervous in social situations doesnt mean you have social anxiety disorder or social phobia. Many people feel shy or self-conscious on occasion, yet it doesnt get in the way of their everyday functioning. Social anxiety disorder, on the other hand, does interfere with your normal routine and causes tremendous distress.

    For example, its perfectly normal to get the jitters before giving a speech. But if you have social anxiety, you might worry for weeks ahead of time, call in sick to get out of it, or start shaking so bad during the speech that you can hardly speak.

    Emotional signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder:

    • Excessive self-consciousness and anxiety in everyday social situations
    • Intense worry for days, weeks, or even months before an upcoming social situation
    • Extreme fear of being watched or judged by others, especially people you dont know
    • Fear that youll act in ways that will embarrass or humiliate yourself
    • Fear that others will notice that youre nervous

    Physical signs and symptoms:

    • Avoiding social situations to a degree that limits your activities or disrupts your life
    • Staying quiet or hiding in the background in order to escape notice and embarrassment
    • A need to always bring a buddy along with you wherever you go
    • Drinking before social situations in order to soothe your nerves

    Symptoms Of Social Phobia

    When exposed to a feared social situation, a person with social phobia may experience symptoms of extreme anxiety, including:

    • blushing
    • feeling as if you have nothing to say
    • accelerated heart rate
    • feelings of self-doubt and uncertainty
    • negative thoughts such as Im making a fool of myself
    • difficulty concentrating on anything other than physical sensations of anxiety, negative feedback from others and negative thoughts
    • an overwhelming urge to flee the situation
    • the realisation that these feelings are irrational and out of proportion.

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    What Is Social Anxiety

    The defining feature of social anxiety disorder is intense anxiety or fear of being judged or rejected in social or public situations. To avoid any negative perceptions, people with social anxiety disorder often try to avoid social situations altogether.

    Many of the signs and symptoms of social anxiety are associated with anxiety attacks, which sometimes occur when people with social anxiety find themselves in a feared or stressful situation.

    Social anxiety disorder affects around 15 million American adults, which makes it one of the most common anxiety disorders and among the most prevalent mental health disorders. Causes include:

    • Inherited traits
    • Your brain structure
    • Environment

    If you experience social anxiety, youâre not alone. However, it can be difficult to reach out for support. Recognizing the signs and getting treatment can help.

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