Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. One reason it’s so prevalent is that there are many types of anxiety people can deal with.
While Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is the most common, social anxiety isn’t far behind.
Social anxiety is so much more than having a “fear” of going out and spending time with people. The symptoms can be debilitating, the fear can be very real, and the treatment differs from GAD.
So, how can you tell if you have social anxiety? If you do, how can you overcome it?
First, it’s important to know what social anxiety is not.
Feeling uncomfortable or awkward in social situations doesn’t necessarily mean you have anxiety. People’s comfort levels change in those situations. A lot of it can depend on your upbringing or past experiences.
Social anxiety causes extreme fear and social avoidance. So much so that you might experience trouble in your relationships, your career, and even your daily routine.
Some of the most common symptoms to look out for include:
- Avoidance of situations where you might draw attention
- Fear of being judged by others
- Expecting the worst possible outcome(s)
- Avoidance of speaking to people because you’re afraid of embarrassment
- Worry over humiliating yourself
Social anxiety can even manifest itself through physical symptoms, including shaking, sweating, a rapid heartbeat, and dizziness in social situations.
Avoiding Everyday Experiences
Another clear sign of social anxiety is when you notice fear or worry in everyday situations that require you to interact with others.
Do you feel anxious when you have to go to work or school?
Are you fearful of starting conversations or making eye contact with others?
Do you sometimes even have trouble using a public restroom because you’re so anxious about what other people might be thinking?
When these thoughts and fears disrupt the normal things you do each day, it’s an indicator that you’re dealing with more than just social discomfort.
Like any other type of mental condition, social anxiety can completely take over your thoughts. When it does, it will influence and impact nearly every area of your life, causing you to feel like you’re not in control of your own choices.
Getting your mind back to reality and putting yourself back in the driver’s seat is the most important thing you can do.
How to Deal with Social Anxiety
So, how can you accomplish that?
Getting help early should be your top priority. The moment you start to wonder whether you could be struggling with social anxiety, reach out to a mental health professional.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s “too late” if you’ve been dealing with it for a while. There is never a wrong time to seek out the help you deserve.
A therapist can help you understand the causes of your social anxiety and work through them, starting at the root.
You can also manage your symptoms every day on your own by doing things like journaling and setting both priorities and goals. Over time, you can start to re-introduce yourself to social situations by taking baby steps. Your therapist will help you through those situations and give you ideas and suggestions on how to get through them healthily.
Social anxiety will only cripple your life if you continue to let it. You can take control again, and you don’t have to do it alone.
Feel free to contact Integrative Psychotherapy Group if you’re dealing with social anxiety. Together, we’ll get a better understanding as to why you’re struggling, and what you can do to overcome your fears.