Millions of individuals across the globe grapple with social anxiety, an anxiety disorder marked by intense fear, nervousness, and self-consciousness in social settings. Those with social anxiety frequently feel scrutinized, judged, or assessed by others, which can make social interaction or even stepping outside their homes challenging.
A primary symptom of social anxiety is avoidance. Sufferers often steer clear of social situations or only participate with great hesitance. They might also experience physical symptoms like sweating, shaking, or a racing heart when confronted with social scenarios. Without proper treatment, social anxiety can significantly disrupt a person’s life by hindering relationship-building, career advancement, or the enjoyment of recreational activities.
Fortunately, various strategies can be employed to address social anxiety effectively. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely-used treatment for social anxiety. This therapeutic approach helps individuals recognize and confront the negative thoughts and beliefs fueling their anxiety, while also equipping them with coping skills for social situations. Medication can also aid in managing social anxiety. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are frequently prescribed to alleviate anxiety symptoms, but they should be used in tandem with therapy rather than as a sole treatment.
Besides therapy and medication, several self-help techniques can be employed to control social anxiety. These methods include practicing relaxation exercises like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation, disputing negative thoughts, and cautiously exposing oneself to social situations within a supportive and controlled environment.
If you suspect that you might be struggling with social anxiety, it’s crucial to seek professional help. Consult your doctor or a mental health expert about your symptoms, and they can assist you in devising a treatment plan tailored to your needs. With the appropriate treatment and support, managing social anxiety and leading a fulfilling life is entirely achievable.
Anastasiya Palopoli, a board-certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, has extensive experience in nursing and psychiatric care, with degrees in Nursing from UCF and Psychiatric Mental Health from the University of Cincinnati. Following a residency in General and Child Psychiatry in Florida, she specializes in treating Dementia, psychosis, depression, and anxiety through holistic approaches. Beyond her professional life, she enjoys hiking, tennis, and traveling with her family.