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What Is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety, as the name suggests, is marked fear or anxiety associated with one or more social situations. These social situations may be the situations where you experience being exposed to possible scrutiny by others, such as being observed eating or drinking, social interactions involving meeting with unfamiliar people, etc, or performing in front of others.

If you experience fear and anxiety when you think of such social situations and you try to avoid these situations altogether to eliminate that fear and anxiety, then its not just shyness. It may be a case of social anxiety.

Let’s find out the different symptoms of social anxiety.

Signs And Symptoms of Social Anxiety:

  • Sweating

  • Shaking or trembling

  • Rapid heartrate

  • Mind going blank

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea or abdominal distress

  • Fear of losing control

  • Chills or heat sensations

  • Tingling sensation or numbness

  • Shortness of breath

  • Avoidance behavior

  • Fear or anxiety of social situations anticipating embarrassment or being judged

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may be experiencing social anxiety. Another important thing to consider is that the fear or anxiety you experience is out of proportion to the real threat that a situation may pose. Not only your mind, but your body tells it too, which is evident from the physical symptoms of anxiety.

When Does Anxiety become A Problem?

Anxiety is a normal response of your body to a threat. Your mind interprets the situation as threatening and sends signals to your body to prepare itself to fight the situation or flee from it. All the physical symptoms are the result of your body preparing itself for the fight/flight response. It may include having a fast heart beat, burst of energy, dilation of pupils, etc.

And when that threatening situation ends, the body comes back to its normal functioning. But if you are unable to manage anxiety and constantly stay in that flight/fight mode, functioning of your body and mind starts to compromise.

Why Consulting A Therapist Helps with Social Anxiety

Why do some people are prone to social anxiety as compared to others? One reason behind social anxiety is the pattern of your thought processes. People who are more likely to develop anxiety issues tend to have errors in their thinking. For instance, one of such cognitive errors is catastrophizing meaning that they exaggerate the difficulties they face and believe that they are in the worst possible scenario.

Due to such thinking, they anticipate future threats and prepare themselves to avoid the anxiety and fear associated with such situations by persistently avoiding the situations. And this avoidant behavior becomes so engraved that it becomes difficult to identify and change the patterns.

Hence, consulting a professional who can help you identify your triggers, understand unhelpful and inappropriate coping strategies, and learn new adaptive coping skills, and thinking and behavior patterns.

If you don’t know where to start, at Psychology, Counselling, and Wellbeing Centre, our treatment goals include helping you learn that anxiety is manageable and does not have to control your life.

At our clinic based in Woolloongabba, our team of psychologists is passionate about helping you make the changes you need to live the life you want. If you feel you need Anxiety Counselling please call us on 07 3891 2273.

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