Causes and Symptoms of Social Anxiety
The exact causes of social anxiety are yet to be discovered. It is believed that anxiety starts at a certain point in one’s life and, gradually if ignored, a mild social awkwardness can develop into a severe social anxiety or phobia. A variety of genetic, social and physiological factors can trigger the disorder. Social experiences, like being bullied or prolonged feelings of not fitting-in, or being rejected can cause social anxiety. Individuals with hyper sensitivity and low self-esteem are more likely to develop this disorder. It has been discovered that people in Scandinavian countries suffer from social anxiety more than natives of the Mediterranean region.
People with social phobias tend to feel overly self-conscious within a group of people, and especially with strangers.
Social anxiety can manifest itself in tears, nausea, excessive sweating, palpitation, shaking or blushing. It can even impair a way we walk, especially when we feel being observed. These visible symptoms further reinforce a fear of social encounters, as the sufferers think their anxiety is obvious, and can feel both embarrassed and judged. In some cases individuals resort to so called ‘safety behaviors’, e.g. sticking besides a good friend at a party; staying silent when in a small group to avoid looking foolish or blushing, etc. In more severe cases people affected by the disorder choose to avoid feared situations all together and even isolate themselves from society.
Social Anxiety Treatment
Recent studies have proved that social phobia/anxiety affects 13.3 percent of people of different ages. According to the study women suffer more often than men, and public speaking and performance fear are the most common. Unfortunately, experts believe that if untreated, social phobia goes to the chronic form and never disappears by itself. Currently there are two main forms of successfully treating/managing social anxiety disorder: certain medications and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The latter is a specific form of short-term psychotherapy, which centers on a gradual exposure to feared situations.
There are also other, easily accessible online, self help methods and natural anxiety treatments developed by therapists and life coaches, which challenge unhelpful thoughts and behaviors in order to help to overcome phobia and shyness.
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