Oct 31, 2023
It is acceptable to have anxiety in some social situations. You might get butterflies in your stomach before a presentation or a date, for example. However, social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, causes severe worry, self-consciousness, and humiliation about routine contact because it fears being closely examined or negatively judged by others.
Avoidance in social anxiety disorder is brought on by fear and worry, and it can have a detrimental effect on your life. Abnormally high levels of stress can disrupt relationships, everyday routines, work, school, and other endeavours.
While social anxiety disorder can be a chronic mental health problem, you can improve your social skills and self-esteem by learning coping mechanisms in psychotherapy and taking medication for it.
Like many other mental health disorders, social anxiety disorder most likely stems from a complex interaction between biological and environmental factors. Among the causes are:
Shyness or unease in certain situations is not necessarily a sign of social anxiety disorder, especially in young individuals. Depending on their personality traits and life experiences, people have varying degrees of ease in social situations. Some people are quieter by nature, while others are more social.
In contrast to typical anxiety, social anxiety disorder is typified by concern, anxiety, and avoidance that obstruct relationships, day-to-day activities, employment, education, and other pursuits. Though it typically first manifests in the early to mid-teens, social anxiety disorder can occasionally affect adults or younger children at younger ages.
One of the telltale indications and symptoms of social anxiety disorder is constant.
You might not experience significant anxiety or panic in other, more relaxed social situations, but you might in public speaking or performing situations.
The following physical signs and symptoms may occasionally accompany social anxiety disorder:
It may be difficult to deal with common, everyday situations if you have social anxiety disorder, such as:
If you're dealing with a lot of expectations, stress, or changes in your life, they can get worse. If you don't get therapy, your anxiety is likely to worsen over time even though avoiding anxious circumstances may temporarily improve your symptoms.
If you suffer from social anxiety disorder, it could be challenging to handle typical, daily circumstances like:
Over time, social anxiety disorder symptoms may change. Things may worsen if you're juggling a lot of demands, stress, or life changes. Avoiding stressful situations may momentarily relieve your symptoms, but if you don't undergo therapy, your anxiety is likely to get worse over time.
The following factors may increase a person's risk of developing social anxiety disorder:
If you have social anxiety disorder in addition to another medical illness or mental health concern, or if other conditions might be the cause of your concern, your doctor will want to know.
Your healthcare provider may diagnose you based on:
Self-report questionnaires about the criteria for social anxiety symptoms listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association. These include:
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Your treatment plan will be based on how much your social anxiety disorder interferes with your daily life. The most common treatments for social anxiety disorder are pharmacological intervention, sometimes referred to as talk therapy, psychological counselling, or psychotherapy in combination.
Psychotherapy lessens symptoms for most people with social anxiety disorder. In the course of treatment, you will discover techniques to help you recognise and change self-defeating thoughts as well as develop social confidence.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the most effective type of psychotherapy for anxiety, and it is effective both in groups and one-on-one.
Through exposure-based cognitive behavioural therapy, you gradually gain confidence in facing your greatest anxieties. This can make you more skilled at handling and provide you with the confidence you need to deal with stressful situations. You can also engage in role-playing or skills training to improve your social skills and gain comfort and confidence in your interactions with others. Exposing yourself to social situations is particularly helpful if you want to face your concerns.
Despite the availability of many different types of medications, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often the first class of drugs used for persistent symptoms of social anxiety.
Effexor XR, or ventlafaxine, is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) that may be used to treat social anxiety disorder.
To reduce the possibility of adverse effects, your doctor might start you on a low dose of your medication and gradually increase it to the full amount. Before your symptoms start to improve, treatment could take a few weeks to many months.
Your doctor may also suggest other medications to address the symptoms of social anxiety, such as:
If you already suffer from anxiety, there are things you can do to minimise the severity of your symptoms, even if it is impossible to predict what will cause someone to develop worry:
If social anxiety disorder is not treated, it can take control of your life. Anxiety can lead to issues with relationships, the job, the classroom, and just enjoying life in general. This disease could lead to:
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