Social anxiety disorder is a common mental health illness that affects millions of Americans.
It is associated with excessive fear of being judged, intense anxiety, or anticipation of rejection in social places.
Unfortunately, this condition can negatively impact a patient’s social, personal, or work life.
When social anxiety disorder pops up in a social setting, it is a source of distress. It also inhibits you from doing day-to-day tasks that could be necessary for your routine. Consequently, people with social anxiety disorders tend to avoid or enter a social situation with much distress.
While the disorder can be disorienting, effective treatments are available to help victims improve their quality of life. Therapy has proved an effective treatment method for overcoming symptoms and providing long-term care.
If you’re looking to overcome social anxiety disorder, consider speaking to a mental health professional with relevant therapy experience.
Here’s what you need to know.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), also known as social disorder, causes victims or patients to experience fear or anxiety in social settings. Anyone with an anxiety disorder has trouble talking to people, attending social places, and meeting new people.
Unlike shyness, which you might easily overcome, social anxiety disorder significantly impacts your life.
Social anxiety is persistent and can overwhelm you, hindering your daily routines, such as shopping, morning run, or going to work.
Social anxiety is often confused with shyness or reservation, behavior that very common. Other people avoid expressing themselves or interacting due to experience or character traits. On the contrary, social anxiety is a defined reservation characterized by fear, anxiety, and avoidance, which interfere with relationships, everyday routine, work, and other activities. Social Anxiety Disorder can occur in people of all ages; however, it mostly begins in the mid-teens.
Your body can display symptoms such as trembling, muscle tension, sweating, lightheadedness, nausea, blushing, and trouble catching your breath.
You may also display the following behavioral or emotional symptoms:
You can also identify someone with Society Anxiety Disorders by the likelihood of avoiding social situations. Patients with social anxiety will likely avoid dating, going to work, making eye contact, attending parties, or using a public restroom.
The exact cause of Social Anxiety Disorder is unknown; however, it may result from a combination of factors.
The possible causes include:
Several factors expose people to social anxiety, such as family history, social demands, or negative experiences. In addition, conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or disfigurement that draw attention may cause consciousness leading to social anxiety.
Psychotherapy is an effective treatment that helps people relieve symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder. Therapy applies an objective approach to help you recognize and transform negative thoughts about yourself and learn new skills.
It also equips you with the confidence to join and enjoy social settings. Although there are various forms of therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy(CBT) is the most effective treatment for anxiety disorder.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) uses different techniques based on the condition under treatment. For instance, the type of technique used to treat depression is not similar to the approach applied to treat anxiety.
The difference in approach highlights the need to work with a mental health professional with a bias in dealing with Social Anxiety Disorder.
One of the primary goals of CBT is to identify illogical thoughts, beliefs, and patterns and replace them with more practical alternatives. CBT therapy is anchored on the principle that thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interlinked.
A therapist helps patients identify the above hindrances, an awakening that changes how they feel or behave.
As you work towards the set goal, the therapist will guide you through the following problem areas:
Interestingly, the therapy sessions establish a learning mode where there’s a teacher-student relationship. The therapist helps you explore the concept through one-on-one sessions, group work, and takeaway homework.
All patients undergoing CBT therapy cannot enjoy the same success. However, you can take specific steps to make the most out of treatment.
Here are a few suggestions:
Cognitive Behavior Therapy focuses on tuning twisted thinking that results in anxiety. The cognitive approach helps patients feel less anxious and in control of situations.
For example, for a patient who fears public speaking— the mere thought of public speaking triggers the fear of embarrassment or failure. CBT aims to reshape these mental distortions with more practical views.
It’s also important to note that a mental health professional can provide therapy online. It is an approach with growing popularity that may be helpful to patients with severe social anxiety. Since CBT follows a structured approach, it can be administered online through self-help guides or when supported by a therapist.
CBT also helps to change socially anxious behaviors, an approach called systematic desensitization. It involves learning relaxation techniques by exposing you to anxiety-triggering situations.
Over time, patients with social anxiety will learn to overcome their fears. Even so, a therapist administers the exposure training gradually. A quick ‘toughen-up’ approach cannot help solve your concerns.
Instead, a therapist systematically exposes you to fears to build your confidence to face them.
Anxiety therapy techniques like CBT can help you overcome worry by replacing it with thoughts you find meaningful and valuable. Unlike other forms of treatment, it equips patients with coping mechanisms and a long-term cure for anxiety disorder.
Here are a few benefits of overcoming social anxiety disorder through therapy:
Finding the right therapist directly impacts your recovery from mental health problems. For some reason, you may lack enough therapists in your area, or you’re not finding solutions from those you meet.
A qualified therapist will help you develop skills and confidence to deal with anxiety disorders— therefore, finding the right therapist is worth the effort.
Here are a few tips to improve your search:
Social Anxiety Disorder is a hindrance to your mental health. If left untreated, it can lead to low self-esteem, substance abuse, low productivity in life, and isolation. It’s, therefore, recommendable to seek help from a mental health professional before symptoms become severe.
At MindVibe, we have a team of online therapists who use a collaborative approach to help patients overcome social anxiety disorder.
Contact us now or call us at 805.429.8908 to make an appointment.