Our society is a social one. But what happens when you feel nervous in social situations? There could be a number of reasons why this happens, including social anxiety.
Social anxiety, formerly known as social phobia, is the fear of interaction with others that often brings about self-consciousness, feelings of being judged and negatively evaluated, and tends to lead to avoidance of social situations. It is the third largest psychiatric condition in the country, and it is estimated that about 7% of the population is affected. For example, a fear of public speaking is considered a specific form of social anxiety. Those with generalized social anxiety are nervous and uncomfortable in almost all social situations.
What are the Symptoms of Social Anxiety?
There are a number of physiological symptoms including, but not limited to:
- Racing heart
- Intense fear
- Dry mouth
- Excessive sweating
- Twitching of the facial muscles
These symptoms manifest due to an increased fear of certain social situations, such as being watched while doing something or meeting new people. If you were teased or heavily criticized as a child, you may have social anxiety disorder. It’s not uncommon for teasing and bullying to be a catalyst for this condition, as those actions tend to make people shy away from social situations (avoidance).
It’s important to note that you can overcome social anxiety with the proper treatment. Cognitive‐behavioral therapy has been very successful in the treatment of social anxiety. There are also several medications which can be used to treat severe social anxiety.
Experiencing anxiety in social situations is no fun and can make you want to avoid them entirely. It’s time to seek treatment for your social anxiety so that you can enjoy life once again.
To getting you back to your best self,
Lori Calabrese, MD