Social anxiety, also known as Social Phobia, is a condition that describes the anxious emotions and fear that a person feels around social activities. Social anxiety can appear when it comes to meeting new people, starting a new job, dating, participating in class, or talking to strangers. Someone with social anxiety fears any kind of unfamiliar interaction with other people. Social anxiety can also describe a person’s fear of doing things in front of other people, such as eating, drinking, or moving around. Ultimately, social anxiety is the fear of being rejected, judged, embarrassed, or criticized. Those who struggle with this condition often attempt to avoid social interaction all together. The more that social interaction is avoided, the more anxiety is produced by social settings.
Oftentimes those who are called shy may really be working with some form of social anxiety. It is important to note that social anxiety is more than simple shyness. It is the experience of fear beyond what the individual feels they can control. The anxiety takes over the individual’s ability to feel calm and relaxed around others. Sometimes, social anxiety can be experienced weeks ahead of a social gathering or an event, severely impacting an individual’s quality of life. Social anxiety tends to begin during younger years as children are labeled as shy. As children age, their shyness hardens into social anxiety behaviors and patterns.
Social anxiety is a more common condition than those who suffer from it might imagine. Nearly 7% of the US population experiences symptoms of social anxiety. Symptoms include: frequent blushing, the feeling that the heart is racing, nausea, timid eye contact, soft speaking, self-conscious behavior, fear of judgement, easy embarrassment, social avoidance, and awkwardness. When someone suffers from social anxiety, they often spend a lot of time over-planning their lives to compensate for their symptoms. If it goes untreated, social anxiety can thus lead to other mental conditions such as generalized anxiety and depression. It is incredibly important that those with social anxiety learn how to overcome their condition, so that they may reach their full potential and live a fulfilling life.
There is no known specific cause of social anxiety, though researchers have found social skills to live in certain parts of the brain. Underdeveloped social skills may play a large role in social anxiety. The key to understanding social anxiety lies within the understanding of fear and anxiety, as both play a huge part in the condition. Luckily, social anxiety can be treated or made manageable with treatment. Colorado CBT provides cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), amongst other methods, to help those in Denver recover from their social anxiety.
As treatment becomes a reality, those with social anxiety find themselves able to meet new friends, overcome their social fears of being in public, and challenge their comfort zone to continue their own growth. While it can take some time to overcome social anxiety, it has been done many times before. Even the most intense fears of being around other people can be better understood and worked through.
Colorado CBT is here to support those struggling with social anxiety. Reach out to make an appointment and get started!