Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that causes an individual to have anxiety and fear when in social settings and situations.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a common type of anxiety disorder. It causes individuals to have fear and anxiety around social situations and settings.
Anyone can be affected by social anxiety disorder. It is not a choice nor is it a sign of weakness. Social anxiety can severely interfere with an individual’s daily functioning and overall quality of life. Day-to-day interactions, such as work, school, gatherings, meeting new people, and others can become immensely stressful for those with social anxiety.
People with social anxiety disorder will experience symptoms in different ways and on varying levels of severity. This doesn’t make anyone’s journey any more or less valid; it’s just important to remember that your own journey is unique to you.
- Anxiety, fear, and/or worry when in social situations
- Avoiding social situations and settings where there are people
- Feelings of embarrassment or awkwardness around other people
- Anxiety in anticipation of a social event or situation
- Anxiety and worry of embarrassing or humiliating oneself in public
- Physical anxiety symptoms in social situations, such as racing heartbeat, sweating, trembling, blushing, dizziness, nausea, etc.
People may experience some or all of the above symptoms. In some individuals, there may be additional symptoms including general anxiety, depression, and others.
As with any health condition, treatment can vary from person to person. What’s helpful for one may not be helpful for another; however, there are some treatments available that can and do help those struggling with social anxiety disorder. Treatments include:
- Medication - There is a range of medications, including antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, that may be useful in better managing social anxiety symptoms.
- Psychotherapy - There is also a range of therapies that have been found to have a positive effect on those experiencing social anxiety disorder. These include talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), group or family therapy, exposure therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), interpersonal therapy, emotional freedom techniques (EFT), and psychodynamic therapy.
It’s best to talk to your health team when looking at treatment options. They can recommend and guide you through what could be the best fit for you and your well-being.
I have a loved one experiencing social anxiety disorder, how can I help?
If you have a loved one who is struggling, having an open conversation about how you can best support them can mean the world. For example, asking how you can best support them on their journey. You could send them a message to let them know you’re thinking of them, help reassure and encourage them in social settings, etc. Simply being a friend can often be the best thing to do. Maybe even working on a well-being plan with your loved one that may be useful to both of you.
Understanding this condition is also immensely helpful. It can help you and your loved one to better work with what they’re going through. It’s equally important to also remember to take time out for yourself for self-care.
It’s important for those struggling to know that social anxiety can be managed. You can find ways to cope with it and heal from it. There is always hope and people who care about you who will support you on your journey.
Voices of Hope wants you to know that your life has value and you deserve the help, care, and support you need to recover. Social anxiety disorder can be managed and you can live a life free of it. We understand how difficult mental illnesses can be, but you are worthy, and you are strong. You can get through this. Reach out and keep fighting. You are not alone. We believe in you.
Resources and links:
- Mayo Clinic - Social Anxiety Disorder
- Cleveland Clinic - Social Anxiety
- Social Anxiety Decoded Instagram
- Myself Confidence Journey Instagram
- The Mighty - Social Anxiety
- Just a Thought - Social Anxiety
- The Recovery Village - How to Help a Friend with Social Anxiety
Voices of Hope does not offer direct mental health services, and our team is not comprised of trained mental health professionals. If you require assistance, we recommend visiting our resources page for helpful information.
If you are in immediate risk of harm to yourself or others or need advice for someone in your life that is at risk of immediate harm to themselves, please contact your local emergency services.