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Why Do People Have Social Anxiety

You Are Prone To Panic Attacks


Events that immobilize you and cause you to seek medical help when the real culprit is just your anxiety. There is nothing physically wrong with you, but you are convinced there is. An astute medical professional will perhaps pick up on the issue and recommend a counselor or therapist who may be able to help you. Take this as a gesture of kindness, not as an affront.

You Rarely Travel For Pleasure Unless It Is With A Family Or 1

And, though you enjoy the experience with these people, if strangers insert themselves in hotels, on the beach or at the pool, or any other time, you clam up, unable to enjoy their company. You will avoid vacations that involve cruises, tours, and other things that will throw you in with others.

Social Anxiety Is Increasing Why Arent People Seeking Help

Social Anxiety Disorder is often misunderstood to be the same as shyness, when it is actually a very serious anxiety disorder. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that Social Anxiety Disorder is not just a medical description of shyness, and in fact the two are quite different. Social Anxiety Disorder, also called Social Phobia, is defined by extreme anxiety related to a fear of judgement from others that restricts ones ability to engage in social situations.

Social Anxiety Disorder currently affects around 12 percent of the general population, or about 15 million Americans. These rates are higher than they have ever been, and researchers are trying to determine why this is. Many studies have shown a link between social media and anxiety and depression. People with Social Anxiety Disorder are especially prone to using social media as their primary means of socialization, so they are at an even higher risk of the negative effects related to comparisons to others, being left out, and cyber bullying. Since people with Social Anxiety Disorder often avoid social situations, social media may be the only way that they interact socially with others. For those with severe Social Phobia, social media gives them the social outlet that they have been craving without the fear of having to interact with others face to face. For some people this does improve their mood, but for the majority it ends up backfiring by making them feel more anxious and/or depressed.

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You Worry That People Are Looking At You Or Talking About You

Theyre generally not but that feeling that everyone is judging how you look, what youre saying or how youre coming across is part and parcel of a night out social anxiety style. Am I too quiet? Did I just make a tit of myself? Do I seem rude? Why did I just say that? Where do I put my hands? Are those two talking about me? Am I even wanted here?

These are just some of the questions that regularly spin through your brain.

Ask Your Support System For A Helping Hand

Why am I anxious?

It can be embarrassing or humbling to admit to people in your life that youre anxious in social situations and might need help. However, letting a friend or loved one know you might need some extra support can be a major boost. Many times, people are going to feel more comfortable if theyre in a social situation with somebody that theyre close to, Dr. Potter says. Especially if somebody has been fairly isolated in recent times, it can be helpful at first to have a buddy when you go back into a social situation.

The key to this support is helping an anxious person become more independent over time. Eventually, people with more generalized social anxiety will find it uncomfortable to go shopping or order food by themselves, Dr. Potter explains. You want to balance supporting a person and encouraging them to do it themselves.

If youre a friend or family member of somebody anxious in social situations, one way to offer support is to bring them into the conversation. You might be like, Oh, I think Sara has something she would probably like to say on that subject. Shes really interested in that, Dr. Potter says. You can support them by bringing them out of their shells. Before doing that, however, be sure to ask the person if thats OK. If youre a person with social anxiety, you may not like being put on the spot to say something. Talk to that person in advance about how they want to handle certain things.

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When Should I Talk To My Doctor About Social Anxiety

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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Are There Risk Factors For Anxiety

There are multiple factors that create vulnerability to anxiety under stressful circumstances. On a purely psychological level is the ability to manage negative emotions. People lacking emotion regulation skills are at heightened risk of both anxiety and depression. Having a history of adverse life experiences during childhood, such as intense maltreatment or bouts of serious illness, also predisposes people to anxiety. It doesnt change the makeup of genes but it can permanently alter their level of activity so that that the brain is constantly on the lookout for and perceiving potential threats. Perhaps the strongest risk factor for anxiety is having the personality trait of neuroticism. It denotes the degree to which the negative affect system is readily activated. People high in trait neuroticism are dispositionally inclined to find experiences distressing and to worry.

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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.

Finding Help For Social Anxiety Disorder

Why You Have Social Anxiety

Undiagnosed and untreated social anxiety disorder is a devastating condition that can severely limit daily functioning. Even when social anxiety sufferers realize they have a serious problem they may have difficulty asking for help, since therapists are authority figures and people with social anxiety disorder generally avoid interactions with authority figures if they can.

But social anxiety disorder is highly responsive to treatment, and when sufferers do summon the courage to ask for help they often achieve terrific results, both short-term and long-term.

While antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are often prescribed for people with social anxiety disorder, psychotherapy is the core of social anxiety treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy in particular has been found to be effective against social anxietys most disabling symptoms, and is almost always recommended by mental health professionals who see social anxiety disorder patients.

Most treatment for social anxiety takes place on an outpatient basis. But people whove struggled with social anxiety disorder for many years can gain great benefit from inpatient stay in a mental health treatment facility, where all the focus is on recovery.

Social anxiety disorder is difficult to endure, but with the help of treatment services and mental health professionals its symptoms are manageable. Even though social anxiety sufferers sometimes have trouble asking for help, once they do they never regret it.

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Where Do I Go From Here

In addition to talking to your family doctor, check out the resources below for more information about social anxiety disorder:

AnxietyBCVisit or call 604-525-7566 for self-help information and community resources.

BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions InformationVisit for info sheets and personal stories about social anxiety disorder. Youll also find more information, tips and self-tests to help you understand many different mental health problems.

Resources available in many languages:* If English is not your first language, say the name of your preferred language in English to be connected to an interpreter. More than 100 languages are available.

HealthLink BCCall 811 or visit to access free, non-emergency health information for anyone in your family, including mental health information. Through 811, you can also speak to a registered nurse about symptoms youre worried about, or a pharmacist about medication questions.

Crisis lines arent only for people in crisis. You can call for information on local services or if you just need someone to talk to. If you are in distress, call 310-6789 24 hours a day to connect to a BC crisis line, without a wait or busy signal. The crisis lines linked in through 310-6789 have received advanced training in mental health issues and services by members of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.

You Take Your Lunch To Work

Not because its cheaper, but because you need an excuse not to go out to lunch with your co-workers. When you are invited to happy hour, you find an excuse not to be able to attend, and eventually they stop inviting you. People come to view you as anti-social when, in fact, you are really just fearful, and you cannot explain why.

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What Is It Like Having Social Anxiety Disorder

In school, I was always afraid of being called on, even when I knew the answers. I didnt want people to think I was stupid or boring. My heart would pound and I would feel dizzy and sick. When I got a job, I hated to meet with my boss or talk in a meeting. I couldnt attend my best friends wedding reception because I was afraid of having to meet new people. I tried to calm myself by drinking several glasses of wine before an event and then I started drinking every day to try to face what I had to do.

I finally talked to my doctor because I was tired of feeling this way and I was worried that I would lose my job. I now take medicine and meet with a counselor to talk about ways to cope with my fears. I refuse to use alcohol to escape my fears and Im on my way to feeling better.

You Will Never Make A Phone Call When You Can Email

Coping With Social Anxiety: The Best Self

Making a phone call is even more daunting than receiving one and if you can avoid it, you will. Thank heavens for email and messenger services which cuts out all necessity of human interaction.

If your bank tells you that you need to phone up to order a new card, you would just rather not have a card ever again. FYI, I havent owned one for eight years.

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What Is Social Phobia

It’s natural to feel self-conscious, nervous, or shy in front of others at times. Most people get through these moments when they need to. But for some, the anxiety that goes with feeling shy or self-conscious can be extreme.

When people feel so self-conscious and anxious that it prevents them from speaking up or socializing most of the time, it’s probably more than shyness. It may be an anxiety condition called social phobia .

Getting Plenty Of Sleep

Getting at least eight hours of sleep per night is recommended. Lack of sleep can increase anxiety and worsen symptoms of social phobia.

Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications that treat anxiety and depression if your condition doesnt improve with therapy and lifestyle changes. These medications do not cure social anxiety disorder. However, they can improve your symptoms and help you function in your daily life. It can take up to three months for medication to improve your symptoms.

Medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat social anxiety disorder include Paxil, Zoloft, and Effexor XR. Your healthcare provider may start you with a low dose of medication and gradually increase your prescription to avoid side effects.

Common side effects of these medications include:

  • insomnia
  • upset stomach
  • lack of sexual desire

Talk to your health care provider about the benefits and risks to decide which treatment is right for you.

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Physical Social Anxiety Symptoms

The stress associated with anxiety can take a physical toll on the body. Some people describe this as experiencing anxiety in places like their shoulders, forehead, or stomach.

Some physical manifestations of social anxiety disorder include:

  • dizziness or fainting
  • hyperventilating, or shortness of breath
  • nausea or vomiting
  • excessive sweating
  • shaking or trembling

While this list can give you an indication of whether you have social anxiety disorder, its not meant to be a substitute for diagnosis.

In some cases, these symptoms can actually feed your social anxiety disorder. For instance, blushing might make your embarrassment worse if you feel its drawing unwanted attention.

How To Get Over Social Anxiety

Why You Should Quit Drinking If You Have Social Anxiety

Dr. Potter stresses that its important to address your social anxiety, even if this feels difficult since it can have a major impact on your life. It can have subtle negative effects on your career, friendships, dating life, or even family relationships, she says. It can affect you so broadly when you miss opportunities. When a persons isolated, it can lead to depression because you miss opportunities to have a good time or enjoy yourself, and feel connected to other people.

Luckily, Dr. Potter notes that social anxiety is very treatable, although strategies for overcoming social anxiety depend both on your individual personality and how much the disorder is affecting your life. For example, if you have panic attacks when going out in public because you are so overwhelmed, you might opt for medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both. Less severe anxiety might be better served by a different treatment option.

Here are a few other ways to approach getting over social anxiety.

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Serotonin Modulators And Stimulators

, sometimes referred to more simply as “serotonin modulators”, are a type of with a multimodal action specific to the system. To be precise, SMSs simultaneously modulate one or more and inhibit the of serotonin. The term was coined in reference to the of the serotonergic antidepressant , which acts as a , of the , and of the and . However, it can also technically be applied to , which is an antidepressant as well and acts as an SRI and 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist.

An alternative term is serotonin partial agonist/reuptake inhibitor , which can be applied only to vilazodone.

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