It’s normal to get nervous in some social situations. For instance, going on a date or giving a presentation can cause that feeling of butterflies in your stomach. However, in social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, everyday interactions cause significant self-consciousness, anxiety, and embarrassment because you fear being judged negatively by people.
Social anxiety disorder is a highly prevalent mental health condition in the general population, with a lifetime prevalence of 2-5 % in adults. In addition, as many as 1 in 10 adults have it to some extent. It develops in the teenage years and is a lifelong problem unless treated.
In social anxiety disorder (SAD), fear and anxiety lead to avoidance that may disrupt your life. Severe stress can affect relationships, daily routines, work, school or other activities. If you have a social anxiety disorder, the pressure of these situations is too much to handle. As a result, you might avoid all social contact because things others consider normal, like talking and eye contact, make you uncomfortable. As a result, all aspects of your life, not just the social ones, might start to fall apart. Ease your life and get rid of this social fear by consulting ibuyalprazolam.
A social anxiety disorder may be a chronic mental health state, but learning coping skills in psychotherapy and taking medications may help a person gain confidence and improve his ability to interact with others.
Symptoms of SAD
Feelings of shyness or discomfort in specific social situations aren’t necessarily symptoms of social anxiety disorder, particularly in children. Instead, comfort levels in social scenarios vary depending on personality traits and life experiences. For example, some people are naturally reserved, while others are more extroverted.
Social anxiety disorder encompasses anxiety, fear, and avoidance that interfere with relationships, work, daily routines, school or other activities. Social anxiety disorder typically starts in the early to mid-teens. However, it may sometimes begin to happen in younger children or adults.
Emotional and behavioural symptoms
- Very self-conscious in social situations.
- Fear of social situations in which you may be negatively judged, a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being judged by others.
- Worry about humiliating or embarrassing yourself.
- Intense fear of interacting/talking with strangers.
- Fear that people will notice that you look anxious.
- The need to avoid eye contact.
- Fear of symptoms that can cause embarrassment, like blushing, sweating, trembling or shaky voice.
- Avoidance of situations where you are the centre of attention.
- Anxiety in anticipating a feared activity or event.
- Intense anxiety or fear anxiety during social situations.
- Analysis of your performance and identifying flaws in your interactions after a social situation.
- The expectation of the worst possible consequences from a negative experience during a social situation.
- Fast heartbeat
- Upset stomach or diarrhoea/nausea
- Trouble catching your breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Feeling that your mind has gone blank
- Muscle tension
- An out-of-body sensation
You may begin having symptoms and getting anxious immediately before a social event, or you might spend weeks worrying about it. Then, afterwards, you might spend a lot of time and energy worrying about how you behaved.
Avoiding common social situations
Everyday experiences may be hard to endure if you have a social anxiety disorder, like:
- Interacting with strangers
- Attending social gatherings
- Going to school or work
- Initiating conversations
- Making eye contact
- Entering a room in which others are already seated
- Eating in front of people
The symptoms may change over time. They may flare up if you face many changes, stress or demands in life. Although avoiding social situations that produce anxiety makes you feel better for the short term, your fear will likely continue over a long time if you don’t get treatment.
Situations for Onset of SAD
Extremely self-conscious and over-sensitive people are a high-risk group for SAD. Recalling that social anxiety begins in the pre-teen years, the most common situations leading to social phobia are:
- Meeting new people of the same age
- Going to a party, to the lunchroom, or entering a room with people already seated inside it
- Going out on a date
- Interacting with people in authority, such as teachers, heads of institutions, sports trainers
- Feeling very fearful while taking a test or in an interview, even though one is well prepared.
- Being in any situation where one could be the centre of attention, like being watched while doing homework, made to speak in the classroom in front of others, and so on.
Causes of SAD
Like other mental health conditions, social anxiety disorder stems from a complex interaction of biological and environmental factors. Possible causes are:
Anxiety disorders tend to run in families. However, it isn’t evident how much of this may be due to genetics or learned behaviour.
A structure in your brain called the amygdala may play a significant role in controlling the fear response. People with an overactive amygdala have an increased fear response, causing heightened anxiety in social situations.
A social anxiety disorder may be a learned behaviour. For example, some people may develop anxiety after an unpleasant or embarrassing social situation. In addition, there may be an association between social anxiety disorder and parents who either develop anxious behaviour in social cases or are controlling or overprotective of their children.
Several factors may heighten the risk of developing a social anxiety disorder, for instance:
You are more likely to develop social anxiety disorder if your siblings or parents have it.
Children who experience rejection, teasing, bullying, or humiliation may be more prone to social anxiety. In addition, other adverse events in life, like trauma, family conflict, or abuse, may be linked with this disorder.
Children who are timid, shy, withdrawn or restrained when facing new situations or people are at higher risk.
New social or work demands
The symptoms typically begin in the teenage years. But meeting new people, delivering a speech in public, or working on an important work presentation might trigger symptoms for the first time.
Social anxiety disorder or social phobia is not just shyness; but rather more severe than this. With a social anxiety disorder, a person becomes very anxious about what others may think of him or how they may judge him. As a result, he has great difficulty in social situations, which may affect his day-to-day life.