Social Anxiety Disorder is a psychological illness in which individuals have an extreme fear of social situations and being around others. A person with this illness commonly fears being evaluated and judged by others, to the point where it is debilitating. Frequently, this fear prevents them from being able to participate and engage in healthy activities and relationships. Those with Social Anxiety Disorder typically feel severe self-consciousness and fear of being embarrassed or humiliated. Sadly, even average, every-day interactions can feel overwhelming.
As mentioned above, Social Anxiety Disorder is an illness in which the fear of social situations, specifically fearing judgment and embarrassment in those situations, is excessive. Therefore, when someone is in a social situation, he or she might experience the following symptoms:
- a racing heart
- shortness of breath
- sweating palms
- feeling hot
To avoid these experiences, it’s common for people with Social Anxiety Disorder to withdraw from people and social activities. They frequently isolate and spend time alone, when possible. The worry and anxiety may become so intense for some people that they no longer have the ability to look at social situations in an objective way. In many cases, those with the disorder might even be aware that the social anxiety they’re experiencing is unreasonable. However, they may still feel powerless to it.
Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment
Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment a variety of methods to help a person gradually re-enter social activity and feel safe. Treatment begins with a thorough, comprehensive diagnostic process, which can help provide clinicians with a complete a psychological picture. It’s important to assess whether the anxiety may be related to other possible co-occurring disorders, such as a Substance Abuse Disorder and another form of Anxiety Disorder. Treatment also includes is a thorough exploration of the specific triggers and stressors that create anxiety. As a person becomes adept at identifying their stressors, they also become better at managing their anxious reactions. At times, treatment reveals that a person is actually experiencing a more general Anxiety Disorder or even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, related to a past event.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder involves helping individuals understand what’s causing their stress so that they gain the ability to work with their thoughts and emotions, and more easily overcome triggers. By providing coping tools and facilitating insights into the experience of Social Anxiety Disorder, people can become empowered and active in their own recovery.
In order to facilitate this kind of healing, there are a variety of therapeutic modalities that might be used. Of these, relaxation coping tools are common. Meditation, mindfulness, yoga, and deep breathing, especially in moments of stress, can teach someone that the fear they perceive doesn’t have to be as debilitating as it first seems. Another form of treatment is Exposure Therapy, which places an individual in a social situation for a period of time so that triggers can be explored. It is done in a safe, controlled environment, free of judgment, so that a person can return to the safety of therapy when he or she needs to. Regular re-exposure to the trigger can eventually teach someone that he or she is safe. Thousands of men and women have overcome Social Anxiety Disorder with the right treatment methods.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder, contact a mental health provider for assistance.
For more information on Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment at Vantage Point please contact us 7 days a week at (805) 777-7595.