The Social Anxiety Institute estimates that 7% of the U.S. population is currently faced with social anxiety disorders, with the lifetime prevalence rate reaching up to 14%. Millions around suffer from social anxiety every day – research studies show that social anxiety disorder is the third largest psychological disorder in the U.S., following depression and alcoholism as the number one and two disorder.
What is Social Anxiety?
Most people experience anxiety, shyness or self-consciousness during their lifetime. It is normal to feel anxious or to get the “jitters” before a speech, social encounters, an interview, or an important event, yet still be able to function in your regular day to day schedule. Social anxiety disorder however does interfere with your normal daily routine and brings tremendous distress into your life for weeks or months before the event occurs.
Triggers for Social Anxiety
Having periods of social anxiety or social phobia during certain situations is very common throughout the population. HelpGuide.org reports social anxiety disorder brings long-lasting significant emotional distress and requires professional intervention for successful recovery. Common triggers for social anxiety disorder include:
- Being observed while working on something
- Making small talk
- Being called on in class
- Making a phone call
- Attending parties or social gatherings
- Meeting new people
- Having interpersonal relationships
- Taking an exam
- Using public bathrooms
- Public speaking
- Being teased or criticized (even as a joke)
- Being part of a group interaction or sharing activity
Three Main Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder
The three main symptoms that are seen with social anxiety disorder are emotional, physical and behavioral based.
Emotional Symptoms include:
- Excessive self-consciousness and anxiety in everyday normal social situations
- Intense worry for days, weeks, or even months before a social situation
- Extreme fear of being watched or judged by others, especially strangers
- Fear that you will embarrass or humiliate yourself
Physical Symptoms of social anxiety disorder include:
- Exhibiting a red face, blushing, sweating or hot flashes
- Shortness of breath
- Upset stomach, nausea
- Trembling or shaking of body part or of voice
- Feelings of racing heart or chest tightness or pressure
- Feeling dizzy or faint
Behavioral symptoms commonly occurring:
- Avoiding social situations that limits your activities or disrupts your life
- Staying quiet in the background to escape notice and embarrassment
- Needing a buddy to go along with you no matter where you might be headed
- Drinking before social situations to soothe your nerves
Help is Available to Recover from Social Anxiety Disorder
Stop letting social anxiety run your life. Help is a phone call away.
Dr. Hege understands your fears and needs — evening private appointments and even video conferencing may be part of your treatment plan which may include medication, cognitive behavioral therapy and additional adjunct therapies.