Social Anxiety Disorder: What It’s All About
Social anxiety disorder, also referred to as social phobia, is the extreme fear (or anxiety) of being judged or turned down by people in social settings. People with this medical condition usually have the following characteristics:
- They are shy and introvert.
- These people tend to blush or stammer while speaking out their mind.
- They fear being misunderstood or being seen as awkward, stupid or boring by others.
- People with social phobia have a tendency to spend most of their time being alone.
- They hate being at social gatherings.
Moreover, a person with social anxiety disorder may experience the following symptoms:
- Excessive sweating
- Increased heart rate
- Full-blown attacks (in rare cases)
Is Social Anxiety Disorder Common?
Yes! Social anxiety disorder is a very common (medical) condition. In fact, it is one of the most common anxiety disorders across the world. According to official records, there are more than 1 million cases of ‘social phobia’ every year in India. Moreover, in the United States of America (USA), this condition affects more than 15 million (or seven per cent) adults in total. It is one of the most common anxiety disorders in the US.
More than 75 per cent of social phobia patients report their commencing symptoms during early teenage or childhood years.
How Does This Phobia Affect You And Your Health?
Social anxiety disorder can cause a great deal of damage to the affected person’s physical as well as emotional health. It can make their life dull and monotonous. As social phobia patients tend to be alone, their social life suffers more than anything else. Gradually, it makes them suffocate in their own shoes.
People with this condition (social phobia) are also prone to developing ‘clinical depression’ or major depressive disorder. They are also prone to alcohol or substance use disorders.
How To Deal With ‘Social Phobia’
Apart from seeking medical attention, there are many other ways that can help you overcome social anxiety disorder. They include:
- Learn to control your breathing.
- Let exercise be an important part of your everyday life. Never skip out on it. Also, practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) – a deep relaxation technique – at least once in a day.
- Try meditating at least thrice in a week.
- Stop thinking too much about your words and actions.
- Make more use of your senses.
- Stop thinking about people’s opinion of you.
- Learn to eliminate the negative thoughts crossing your mind. Talk back to them.
- Start doing things that you love on a regular basis.
- Never let those negative thoughts suck your blood and kill you from inside.
- Make genuine efforts to overcome your shyness and hesitation.
- Keep yourself prepared for upcoming social situations.
- Make new friends and surround yourself with understanding as well as supportive people.
- Learn to let things out. Do not keep everything to yourself. Find somebody to share your thoughts and feelings with.
- Keep your thoughts clean and positive.
- Hang out with friends; have fun; smile and laugh more often.
- Get back to your hobbies, in case you have abandoned them.
- Listen to good music. Watch good movies. Read your favourite books. Try doing things that make you a happier person.
- Try following your bedtime routine sincerely.