Social Anxiety Disorder: More Than Just Shyness

Social Anxiety Disorder: More Than Just Shyness

Feeling shy and nervous when meeting new people or going to a new place is common. Making sure your outfit looks great, that you can impress people, or that you say all the right things are normal feelings to experience when in social situations. But, when does it turn into a more significant issue, like Social Anxiety Disorder? Social Anxiety Disorder is very different from common shyness – it is one of the social phobias. Keep reading to learn more about Social Anxiety Disorder, its symptoms, treatment, and how it can lead to more severe issues down the line if left untreated.

What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Social anxiety disorder (also called social phobia) is a mental health condition. It is an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. This fear can affect work, school, and your other day-to-day activities. It can even make it hard to make and keep friends. But social anxiety disorder doesn’t have to stop you from reaching your potential. Treatment can help you overcome your symptoms.

There are several key differences between typical shyness and Social Anxiety Disorder. They are:

  • The effect it has on your life
  • Very high intensity of fear in social situations
  • Avoiding social situations frequently

Behavioral Symptoms

Some of the behavioral symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder include the constant fears of:

  • Being judged negatively
  • Embarrassing yourself
  • Interacting with strangers
  • Your physical anxious symptoms being too apparent, and others are noticing
  • Expecting an anxiety attack
  • The worst possible outcome happening

A key feature of Social Anxiety Disorder is avoidance. This includes the avoidance of:

  • Speaking to others, especially strangers
  • Going to social events
  • Situations in which you will be the center of attention, such as a birthday party
  • Eye contact
  • Dating
  • Entering a room in which people are already seated, such as a classroom
  • Eating in front of others

Physical Symptoms

Social Anxiety Disorder can manifest symptoms physically, similarly to other types of anxiety disorders. These physical symptoms include:

  • Shakiness
  • Flush face, or blushing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Forgetfulness

Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder can rob you of enjoyable experiences in life, possible friendships and relationships, and living your life to the fullest. Instead, it can cause a lonely life full of anxiety, low self-esteem, low achievement at work or school, isolation, and much more. Luckily, there is treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder. Depending on your particular situation, treatment may include:

  • Medication. Anti-anxiety medication, antidepressants, and beta-blockers can help ease the symptoms of individuals experiencing Social Anxiety Disorder.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems, including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. Numerous research studies suggest that CBT leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life. In many studies, CBT has been demonstrated to be as effective as or more effective than other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.
  • Support groups. Meeting with other individuals who suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder can help in many ways. Exchanging advice, accompanying each other to triggering situations, and having a like-minded support system are all very beneficial to overcoming Social Anxiety Disorder.

Social Anxiety Disorder and Addiction

Individuals who suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder are at a high risk of developing an addiction. Addiction is a symptom of a larger issue, called a root cause, and mental health conditions are the most common type of root cause for addiction.

People with Social Anxiety Disorder may develop an addiction for the following reasons:

  • Self-medicating their anxious symptoms with drugs or alcohol
  • Using drugs or alcohol to become more outgoing or relaxed in social situations
  • Becoming addicted to their treatment medication
  • Abusing substances due to boredom in their isolation

About Seasons in Malibu

Social Anxiety Disorder is very different from typical shyness. Shyness is something that people can overcome once they can “break the ice” in social situations. Social Anxiety Disorder, however, is a debilitating condition that can affect an individual’s life in many areas. Luckily, mental health treatment can help.

The Beach Cottage at Seasons in Malibu is a stand-alone facility that offers life-changing treatment for individuals suffering from mental health disorders. Licensed by the State of California and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, the Beach Cottage offers doctorate level, one-on-one therapy in an intimate, luxurious, residential setting, steps away from a private beach.

Individuals who complete our mental health treatment program are overwhelmingly happy with the results of the care they receive here. More than ninety-five percent of them say they would refer a loved one or family member seeking mental health treatment to us. We believe the fact that clients overwhelmingly recommend us is proof of the quality of treatment and compassion new clients can expect when coming to The Beach Cottage at Seasons in Malibu.

Types of mental health conditions we treat include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety Disorders (OCD, PTSD, GAD)
  • Complex Trauma
  • Bipolar Disorders
  • Grief and Loss
  • Career and Family Stressors
  • Co-Dependency
  • ADD & ADHD
  • Substance Abuse
  • Sex Addiction
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • And More