Title- Fear of Socializing, Is it Shyness or Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety is usually confused with shyness. It’s mainly characterized by intense anxiety, fear or general nervousness of any social situation. Its normal for people to feel nervous about any new social interaction, what sets apart people with social anxiety is the heightened fear of these interactions. They end up avoiding any social situation leading to impaired functioning in relationships. The chronic nature of their fears are irrational and the individual may recognize it as well. It calls for personality change treatments that would change the irrational thoughts.
A person may experience physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms. The experiences may vary from person to person. The physical symptoms include;
- Rapid heartbeat
- Excessive sweating
Emotional symptoms include;
- High level of anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Heightened fear
The exact causes of social anxiety disorder are unknown. Research shows that it might be caused by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors. Risk factors have been found to be childhood maltreatment or early psychological adversity. Its onset usually comes at around 13 years of age.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Personality change therapies like CBT have shown to be a successful treatment for those with social anxiety. Cognitive behavior therapy is a treatment involving a focus on thinking and its influence on behavior and feelings. The therapist provides counseling for personality change and treatment. These therapies focus on changing the individual’s irrational thoughts and beliefs related to social situations. The individual is encouraged to start having positive thoughts regarding social situations or even given strategies to deal with the onset of anxiety.
Social anxiety disorder has adverse effects on the social life of an individual. Avoiding social situations may lead to destroyed relationships and ruin new opportunities. It’s advisable to seek help when one notices their anxiety is preventing them from embracing social situations.