Humans are social beings from the time they are born until the time they die. However, for people to develop all of their capacities, they need to interact healthily with the people around them. In this sense, social anxiety can keep people from living a full life.
Today, there’s a very common type of alteration that impedes proper functioning within society. This disorder is known as social anxiety disorder, or SAD, also known as social phobia. This condition seriously affects the normal lives of those who experience it.
So, what is social anxiety and how can it be treated?
What is Social Anxiety?
Feeling nervous or shy about certain everyday situations like standing up in front of your class… Asking a stranger for directions, going on a date… Asking a salesperson a question… These all tend to be minor issues. But for those who suffer from social anxiety, this nervousness can turn into panic.
Among the symptoms, we can mention sweaty hands, extreme blushing, and an increased heart and breathing rate. In more serious cases, social anxiety can also include nausea, dizziness, and blurry vision. Insecurity and fear cause individuals to become paralyzed, making it impossible for them to interact normally with their environment.
Because of these symptoms, these individuals begin avoiding situations or places that cause them to feel uncomfortable. Of course, this also affects their school performance, work performance, and personal relationships.
Social anxiety disorder often starts to become noticeable during childhood. Later, if the problem isn’t detected and treated early on, it will increase during adolescence and continue into adulthood.
The symptoms of anxiety disorder
This disorder is difficult to diagnose since those who suffer from SAD tend to hide what they feel. When it comes to children, they may express their anxiety in the form of aggression or indifference. However, the symptoms they experience inside include the following:
- Distress when humiliated in public.
- Fear of being judged.
- Panic about speaking with or in front of others.
- Fear that others will realize what’s going on.
- Excessive sweating, stuttering or trembling of their voice, intensive blushing, nausea, and vomiting.
- Tachycardia and tachypnea.
- Dizziness and muscular tension.
- Avoiding any activity or situation that involves interacting with others or in public.
- Exaggerated criticism of personal of one’s own performance after an episode of anxiety.
- Negative and pessimistic feelings.
- In small children, this anxiety manifests itself in the form of tantrums.
- Suicidal thoughts.
All of this symptomatology may present itself completely in serious cases. Therefore, individuals avoid any type of social event. When it comes to adolescents, they may avoid going to parties, going on dates, and talking or eating with their classmates. In short, they stop doing things that they may enjoy.
In the case of adults, many everyday activities feel torturous. For example, exchanging an item at a store, eating alone in a restaurant, using a public bathroom, maintaining eye contact…
However, there are ways to cope with social anxiety and achieve a calm and satisfying life.
5 Ways to Cope with Social Anxiety Disorder
To answer that question, people with social phobia can do the following to keep symptoms under control:
- Seek help immediately: In the presence of the above-mentioned symptoms, getting the help of a professional is vital. Parents who observe unusual behaviors in their children should seek counsel.
- Prioritize: Those who suffer from social anxiety tend to abandon activities that they enjoy out of fear. If that’s the case, it’s important to organize time and save energy for hobbies, leisure activities, sports, etc. that they find the most fulfilling. These activities provide happiness and strengthen a person’s health and mind.
- Keep a diary: Recording the events that occur daily help patients and specialists determine the cause of anxiety and face it with the right treatment.
- Avoid harmful substances: On occasion, those that suffer from social anxiety resort to drugs and alcohol to release themselves from the fear of interacting with others. This produces addiction and health problems that are even worse.
- Consider medication along with therapy: If the disorder calls for it, a doctor will prescribe specific medications and cognitive therapy.
In conclusion, the habit of learning to cope with social anxiety allows those who suffer from it to enjoy their lives. Therefore, it’s good to talk with someone you trust and ask for medical assistance if you suspect you may have SAD. So, the sooner you put the above advice into practice, the sooner you’ll see positive results in the future.