Do you hate to stand in a line because you feel that everyone behind you is watching you critically? Do you find yourself sitting for hours in front of the telephone, before making a call, because you are afraid that the person at the other end will actually pick up it up? Do you find it difficult to walk down the street, especially when it is crowded, because you feel that people around you are watching you? Do you just hate going to work because of that big meeting where everyone will be present? Do you feel scared to join a new job because you know that your new manager is going to take you around, introducing you to the old employees? Do you stay away from parties because you are afraid of meeting people? If you have answered most of these questions in the affirmative, you are probably one amongst the people who suffer from social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia. It is an anxiety disorder in which people fear certain or all social situations, due to the fear of being judged or humiliated by others. While this can be overcome with the right steps, the first step to wellness is knowledge. Read on to explore the causes and symptoms of social anxiety disorder, as well as the remedial measures.
Causes & Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder
Specific Social Anxiety Disorder
A specific social phobia is one in which there are only particular situations that cause social anxiety. This fear could be due to particular incidents that could have occurred during childhood or some traumatic events that left a mark upon the sufferer.
General Social Anxiety Disorder
It is a general, nagging fear of being a social outcast, or of being embarrassed by others. The causes behind this can be actual or perceived fears, which are often excessive and unreasonable.
While the severity of the signs of social anxiety disorder could vary, depending on the person, the following symptoms are experienced by the majority of sufferers:
- Muscle tension
- Shaky voice
- Dry mouth
- Rapid heartbeat
- Involuntary twitching
- Upset stomach
The following situations can trigger off the symptoms of social anxiety in a person and could lead to a panic attack as well:
- Eating in public
- Public speaking
- Using the phone
- Talking to strangers
- Being interviewed by a stranger
- Writing in public
- Attending social events
- Using public restrooms
- Being in a crowd
- Talking to important people
- Doing anything where there is a likelihood of being watched by others
There are many things that you can do on your own to alleviate the social anxiety to a certain extent. While you do not need to medicate yourself, get enough sleep, have a balanced and nutritious diet and indulge in exercise. If you are on drugs, tobacco or alcohol, cutting down on these will go a long way towards making you feel better.
A good counselor will be able to help you get your anxiety under control. Do not shy away from visiting one.
The medication for social phobia is usually in the form of placebos, apart from other types of drugs. However, they are given as a last resort, when all other means of treatment do not work out.