Social Anxiety – Symptoms and Support

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Social Anxiety – Symptoms and Support

Social Anxiety Disorder – Symptoms and Support


Man is indeed a social animal. His ability to interact and co-habitat with his fellow beings is one of the key pillars to a happy existence. The science of human behaviour entails that people who develop healthy relationships are eventually able to live a longer, happier and healthier life. In wake of such observations, it is highly debilitating for an individual to be inflicted with social anxiety, making him absolutely incapable of bonding with his peers, colleagues, friends and even family members.

An individual suffering from social anxiety will typical shy away from social interactions and cower at the mention of company. You can read more about the social anxiety symptoms below.

Before we go any further, let us take a quick look at what exactly is the syndrome of social anxiety or social phobia. We shall read more about how badly it affects the modern society, along with its incidence and symptoms.


The Basics

Put simply, social anxiety is an extreme and irrational fear of social situations. Also known as social phobia, it actually encompasses a huge range of fears, complexes and inhibitions, covered under the umbrella term of Social Anxiety Disorder.

Social anxiety or phobia will usually present itself in two main forms. We have briefly discussed each one of them below:

  1. i) Generalized anxiety:

This is the most common form of social phobia and encompasses a huge range of insecurities and fears. An individual is said to be suffering from generalized social anxiety if he has an overall reluctance to interact with people outside his family. Such an individual will exhibit the relevant symptoms in mostly all situations in his daily life.

  1. ii) Specific social anxiety

This is a typical form of anxiety, which surfaces only in specific situations. An individual is said to be suffering from specific social anxiety if he or she experiences severe discomfort or anxiety in a particular situation. Stage fright is the most common example of this type of anxiety.

Incidence and Prevalence

The society has an inborn trait to attempt to cover the undesirable. Anything that is even slightly lesser appealing is always pushed under the carpet. It is for this reason that the widespread of social phobia never comes to the fore.

Shockingly, social anxiety sums to be the third largest psychological disorder in the United States. At any given time, at least 7% of the total population silently suffers from the social anxiety disorder.

The fact that it is preceded only by the deadly issues of alcoholism and depression speaks volumes on the grave nature of the problem.


Signs and Symptoms

From a stammer in the voice to fidgeting of the hands or even a twitching lower lip, there are a huge series of tell tale signs and symptoms exhibited by an individual suffering from social anxiety.

Here, we have listed the top three social anxiety symptoms you must know.

  1. Social reluctance

This is the top most symptom of social anxiety disorder. An individual suffering from social anxiety will typically display the below listed prominent signs of social reluctance:

  • Unwilling to go to social gatherings and parties
  • Unable to make friends
  • Severe hesitation to interact with strangers
  • Always trying to avoid meeting anyone outside their immediate comfort zone
  1. Irrational fears

An individual suffering from the social anxiety disorder will exhibit severe and highly irrational fears in his daily life. Here’s we’ve listed some of the most prominent amongst them:

  • Fear of being laughed at or being mocked for no particular reason
  • Feeling that everyone is watching and criticizing them at a social gathering
  • Fear that they might drop something, especially eatables, while sitting in a group
  • Feeling that something might be wrong with their clothes, gait or posture
  • Experiencing severe embarrassment in public situations without any particular reason
  1. Physical traits

An individual suffering from the social anxiety disorder will present a few common physical signs. The key reason of these symptoms is the intense anxiety being experienced by individuals. Some of the most common signs include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Breathless
  • Nausea and giddiness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Severe headaches
  • Diarrhoea
  • Muscular tension


Social Anxiety Disorder – Support and Treatment

Social anxiety disorder can be a very debilitating condition, which can eventually spoil the whole quality of life of an individual.

Fortunately, there are many forms of treatment available for cure of the social anxiety disorder. While conventional medications can merely calm the patient or induce a state of tranquillity, it is the anxiety support groups and associations that offer the maximum hope.

The first step in the redress of this condition is the individual’s willingness to help himself. He or she needs to accept they there is a problem that needs to be solved. Once done, they can then proceed to identify the cause of their anxiety. This can be done by examining the situations and looking at the factors that trigger off the anxiety in the first place. At this stage, it is also helpful to seek assistance from a qualified profession who will offer the required support in the process of treatment.

A practical way to achieve the above is to join one of the various social anxiety support groups and organizations that help an individual to identify the cause of his problem and find a solution. A social anxiety group will help in treating the social anxiety disorder or phobia in one or more of the following ways:

  • By encouraging the person to speak up in presence of others who are also suffering from similar conditions
  • By offering him a comfort zone to vent out easily
  • By offering practical, relevant and result-oriented solution to the anxiety issues
  • By helping the individual to re-connect with his surroundings, people and family around
  • By demonstrating techniques and methods such as imagery, distraction and meditation that are extremely helpful to people suffering from social anxiety disorder
  • By guiding them to the right source of professional counseling, if required

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