This Article is About
social anxiety
social anxiety disorder
fears and phobias
feelings of fear
social environments
giving a speech
care giver
exact cause
psychological factors
shyness
stage fright
key role
signs and symptoms
Getting To Grips With Social Anxiety: Causes, Signs & Treatments At A Glance
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Getting to Grips With Social Anxiety: Causes, Signs & Treatments At A Glance

It may come as a surprise to learn that we all experience social anxiety throughout our lives. You may have experienced stage fright or had feelings of fear prior to giving a speech or presentation to an audience. This is one common example of social anxiety, the truth is it affects many of us whether we are aware of it or not.

However there are varying degrees of social anxiety and whilst some may only encounter barely noticeable signs and symptoms, others may suffer from crippling fears and phobias of new social environments and can often feel inferior around others. When social anxiety affects a person's day-to-day life it's usually categorized under an anxiety disorder referred to as social anxiety disorder.

Social Anxiety VS Shyness

Although the two share similarities in the causes and symptoms, shyness is more a fear of meeting new people and a heightened feeling of being inferior around others. Social anxiety however can leave a person fearful of new social environments and even social environments they are familiar with, this is also coupled with the fear of meeting new people and feeling inferior around others. It can be challenging to distinguish whether you're experiencing social anxiety or shyness but if you're suffering from social anxiety then you'll have a heightened fear of being watched and judged by others around you.

Causes of Social Anxiety

Whilst the exact cause of social anxiety is impossible to determine in individual cases, the causes of social anxiety as a whole can be broken down into the following categories:

Conditioning: our learning environment will definitely play a role in the development of social anxiety in a person. If for example you had a parent or care-giver who showed signs of social anxiety then you may develop these habits also.

Psychological: psychological factors such as negative past experiences will also likely play a key role in the development of social anxiety. If for example a person was subject to being bullied or teased in their adolescence then they would be more likely to develop social anxiety at a later stage in life.

Brain structure: a part of the brain known as the amygdala handles our response and management of fear. Fear is the main catalyst in any anxiety or panic related disorder and thus the amygdala has been linked to social anxiety.

Inherited: this is probably the least plausible in my opinion but it is considered that social anxiety affects a certain region of the brain which may be a hereditary factor.

Getting Over Social Anxiety

If a person is only experiencing mild - moderate social anxiety then they are usually blissfully unaware and may shrug it off as shyness as discussed before. For these individuals recovery is usually just a matter of time, I was unaware of suffering from social anxiety in my late teens but had gradually and naturally become a social butterfly by mid twenties.

For others though overcoming social anxiety can be more severe and seriously impact on their day-to-day life lending itself to social anxiety disorder. This can often lead to an apprehension of fear of social environments and meeting new people basically meaning fearing situations that have yet to happen or that might not happen at all. The problem with social anxiety disorder as with most anxiety disorders is it leads to irrational fears that aren't true yet can be very real in the eye of the beholder.

Some may even experience physical symptoms such as stuttering, trembling, blushing, sweating, palpitations or even feeling nauseous. In extreme cases it can also lead to panic or a "panic attack" which is one of the most severe forms of anxiety.

If you do suspect that you're suffering from social anxiety disorder then there are a number of treatments and therapies available to you. The more common treatments for social anxiety disorder include prescription medications in the form of anti-anxiety and beta blockers are also commonly used. A therapy treatment known as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is also known to be very effective and may be recommended.


Street Talk

What's happening in the eye of the beholder is the key! Thanks for your insights.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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