Understanding Social Anxiety

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Social Anxiety Disorder (also known as Social Phobia) is an Anxiety Disorder described as an overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in normal social situations.

Social anxiety disorder affects approximately 15 million American adults and is the second most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorder following specific phobia. The average age of onset for social anxiety disorder is during the teenage years.

People with social anxiety have an intense and chronic fear of being judged by others and of being humiliated by their own actions. Those living with social anxiety disorder may worry about acting or appearing visibly anxious (e.g., blushing, stumbling over words), or being viewed as stupid, awkward, or boring.  As a result, they often avoid social or performance situations, and when a situation cannot be avoided, they experience significant anxiety and distress.  Many people with social anxiety disorder also experience strong physical symptoms, such as a rapid heart rate, nausea, and sweating, and may experience full-blown attacks when confronting a feared situation. Although they recognize that their fear is excessive and unreasonable, people with social anxiety disorder often feel powerless against their anxiety.

Can Social Anxiety be Dangerous?

People with social anxiety disorder suffer from distorted thinking, including false beliefs about the negative opinions of others.  In addition, it has been found that these individuals often suffer from the consequences of social withdrawal and also are prone to depression.

When Should I Seek Out Professional Help?

When should you seek out professional help? Answer these questions:

  • Do I avoid social situations?
  • Do I spend too much time alone?
  • Do I have fewer relationships or less of a social life than most other adults?
  • Is this situation worsening or not improving?

If you answered yes to some of these questions, you may want to consider talking to someone you trust about ways to help you overcome social anxiety.  No matter what you, your child or your family is struggling with, The Center for Collaborative Counseling and Psychiatry can help.  You don’t have to navigate life’s inevitable challenges on your own, and there is always support, guidance and hope for meaningful growth, healing and change.  Our team of experts can help you feel supported, heard, informed and relieved.  We invite you to call 847-214-3651 to schedule an initial appointment.

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