What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is when social settings can induce overwhelming, persistent fear and anxiety in people. Social anxiety can be either generalised or situation-specific, and is caused due to genetic or environmental factors (or both).
If you experience SAD, you might be having a problem with most of the following:
- Making (and maintaining) eye contact
- Entering a room full of people
- Attending parties and other social gatherings
- Eating in front of other people
- Public speaking
What are the Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder?
Early signs and symptoms of SAD usually emerge during the ages of 11 to 19. Over the years, these symptoms can evolve and surface depending on what a person is going through.
The most common symptoms of SAD can be categorised into:
- Rapid heart rate
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle tension
- Stomach upset
- A persistent fear of embarrassing yourself or being judged
- Constantly replaying social interactions long after they have happened
- Hesitation in talking to others
- Avoiding situations that could put you in the spotlight
If left undiagnosed or untreated, Social Anxiety Disorder can create a ripple effect in your life. Its symptoms start overpowering various aspects of your life, including work and personal relationships.
How to know if I have Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety requires a medical diagnosis. If you relate to the aforementioned symptoms, it is strongly advised that you seek professional help ASAP. It is important to remember that social anxiety disorder is treatable. While the line of treatment depends on how disruptive SAD is for you, it generally consists of talk therapy, medications, or both.
If you do not know where to start, you can take this free assessment. Our team at Rocket Health will take care of the rest!
Tips to Deal with Social Anxiety Disorders
Here are a few clinically-tested suggestions for managing social anxiety:
Acknowledging the Anxiety
An essential step in recovering from any psychological disorder is acknowledging its symptoms. Many people with social anxiety tend to look over the symptoms, negating them as an outcome of a stressful phase or a possible burnout. This also stops them from seeking help on time.
Thus, it is important to identify certain negative feelings and see a doctor if they tend to persist time and again.
Writing about your feelings doesn't only provide much-needed clarity of thought but can also help identify the stressors you might not be consciously aware of. This can allow you to control those stressors and their implications on your life.
Making necessary lifestyle changes
Incorporate the following into your daily routine to fight off anxiety in the long run:
- Follow a consistent sleep schedule of 7-8 hours
- Consume nutritious meals
- Engage in some physical activity everyday
- Cutting down on alcohol and caffeine intake
How can Online Therapy Help?
Therapy for social anxiety disorder allows you to recognise and change negative thought patterns and develop skills to help you gain confidence in social situations. Cognitive restructuring is a technique often used by therapists to treat social anxiety. It enables you to introspect and examine the triggers worsening your social anxiety.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: The Leading Treatment for Social Anxiety
CBT, or cognitive behavioural therapy, is a psychological practice that is effective for Social Anxiety disorder. CBT involves a strategic effort to alter the person’s daily thinking patterns. Recent research suggests that CBT can significantly improve people’s quality of life and ability to function normally throughout the day, even when experiencing anxiety.
Some of the most commonly used CBT techniques include:
- Understanding distorted thinking patterns which are causing you difficulties, and identifying them for what they are
- Practising how to calm your mind and relax your body, especially in social settings
- Learning to face the fears you might encounter in social situations instead of avoiding them
- Practising active visualisation to prepare for any challenging interactions
Read more about how online therapy can help you here!
Now that you know what to expect from therapy, it is time to book your first therapy session! On Rocket Health, you can talk to a therapist online without any hassle. We guarantee a judgement-free, comforting space to address all your mental health concerns.
What’s more, you don’t even have to worry about finding a suitable therapist. Fill this out, and we will help you find a therapist online and set up your first therapy session.