What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is more than just shyness. It’s the intense fear of being judged or being too self-conscious in social situations.
Social Awkwardness vs Social Anxiety
Unlike social awkwardness, social anxiety affects your day-to-day life. It’s not something you have for a day or two. It’s the constant feeling of fear (lasting for six months or more) when being in a social situation.
If you have a social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia), you may avoid social situations at all to protect yourself from having those intense feelings of fear.
You may end up not speaking up in your job/class, showing up in a date, or even use the public restroom for fear of being humiliated or judged.
Social anxiety disorder doesn’t just keep you from achieving your highest potential; it can also affect your existing and potential relationships.
Symptoms of Social Anxiety
If you have a social anxiety disorder, you may experience these emotional and physical symptoms when being in a social situation – whether it involves talking to someone/a group of people or doing something in front/with other people:
- a constant fear of embarrassing or humiliating yourself
- persistent fear of being looked at or judged
- intense fear of interacting with strangers
- fear of embarrassment with your physical symptoms: blushing, sweating, or trembling
- constantly judging your performance and flaws when being in a social situation
- having the following physical symptoms when in a social situation: trembling, fast heart rate, muscle tension, upset stomach, dizziness, and trouble catching your breath.
Causes of Social Anxiety
Like most anxiety disorders, social anxiety may be caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors.
This may be a result of having a family history of social anxiety, having an overactive amygdala (the brain structure that has a role to play with our response to fear), or environmental factors (as learned behavior from an unpleasant social experience).
Intervention for Social Anxiety
Social anxiety can be managed. Your treatment plan will depend on how severe your anxiety is and how much it affects your day-to-day life and relationship.
Some of the most common treatment options for social anxiety include psychotherapy and drug therapy.
While psychotherapy improves most symptoms of people with social anxiety, some people experience undesirable effects on drug therapy. If this is your case, you may consider alternative treatments like transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS therapy.
TMS is FDA-approved and is minimally invasive. It is shown to improve the symptoms of people with mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, without the undesirable side effects usually associated with antidepressants or with anti-anxiety medications.
If you’re curious how it works and would like to know if it can help you, don’t hesitate to call NeurOasis TMS at (520) 338-2557.