Have you ever felt uncomfortable or anxious in social situations, such as public speaking or meeting new people? If so, you may have experienced some degree of social anxiety. But for some people, social anxiety can be more than just feeling nervous. It can significantly interfere with their daily life and cause them to avoid social situations altogether.
INDEX OF CONTENTS
Let’s take the case of Luis. Luis has been dealing with social phobia for years. Despite his desire to make friends and connect with others, he has always felt strong discomfort and nervousness in social situations. Even at family gatherings or with close friends, he feels paralyzed with anxiety. This has led Luis to avoid many social situations and to feel isolated and alone.
What is social anxiety
Social anxiety is a common psychological disorder that affects millions of people around the world. But what exactly is social anxiety? In short, it is a strong anxiety or fear that a person feels in social situations. These situations can include public speaking, meeting new people, attending social events, and more.
I am going to give you some statistics on social phobia in Spain and in the world:
- In Spain, it is estimated that about 13% of the population suffers from social phobia at some point in their lives (according to data from the Spanish Society of Psychiatry).
- TO world levelit is estimated that the prevalence of social phobia ranges from 7% to 13% of the general population.
- social phobia It is more common in women than in menwith a ratio of approximately 2:1.
- The age of onset of social phobia varies, but usually manifests in adolescence or early adulthood.
- The genetic, biological and environmental factors can influence in the development of social phobia.
- Social phobia can have a significant impact on a person’s life, including interfering with interpersonal relationships, academic or work performance, and overall quality of life.
- Despite the seriousness of the disorder, many people with social phobia do not receive treatment due to a lack of awareness about the disorder and the stigma attached to seeking help for mental health issues.
We should not confuse social phobia with shyness
Let’s say shyness is a personality traitwhile social phobia is a psychological disorder. Also, shyness usually does not affect a person’s work or academic performance, while social phobia can be very disabling.
The key to distinguishing between shyness and social phobia is the intensity of the anxiety and the impact it has on a person’s life.. If someone is just a little awkward or nervous in social situations, they are probably just shy. However, if that anxiety is extreme and gets in the way of someone’s ability to interact with others and perform everyday tasks, it may be indicative of social phobia.
Returning to social phobia, we are going to see how it can manifest itself. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Intense fear or anxiety in social or performance situations. For example, fear of speaking in public, attending a party or social gathering, eating or drinking in the presence of others, among others.
- feeling of shamehumiliation or intense self-criticism in social situations.
- Avoidance of social or performance situationsor significant discomfort during it.
- Excessive worry or anticipation from social or performance situations, even weeks or months in advance.
- physical symptoms such as excessive sweating, palpitations, tremors, facial flushing, nausea, or diarrhea.
- Difficulty establishing interpersonal relationships significant.
- Poor academic or job performance.
It is important to note that the intensity and duration of these symptoms vary from person to person.
Causes of social anxiety.
Now let’s talk a bit about the possible causes of social anxiety. It’s important to put attention on there is no single cause, but rather a complex problem which can have multiple factors.
First, it is believed that genetics may play a role. This means that if someone has a family history of social anxiety, it is more likely that he or she will also suffer from it.
Furthermore, some studies suggest that chemical imbalances in the brain, specifically on serotonin and dopamine levelsmay also be related to social anxiety.
On the other hand, personality can also play a role. People who are more introverted or sensitive may be more likely to suffer from social anxietyespecially if they also have low self-esteem or have had traumatic experiences in the past.
Finally, social anxiety has also been related to environmental and cultural factorssuch as parenting style or social pressure to conform to certain norms of behavior.
What treatment options are available for social anxiety?
There are several treatment options that can help people overcome their fears and improve their quality of life.
One of the most common treatment options is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This therapy focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and maladaptive behaviors that contribute to social anxiety. You can also work on the acquisition of effective communication and social skills to increase interpersonal trust.
Another treatment option is medication.. In some cases, medications such as antidepressants or anxiolytics can be helpful in reducing anxiety symptoms and facilitating the therapy process.
In addition to these treatment options, there are some practices that can help reduce social anxiety, such as meditation, relaxation and the practice of activities that generate emotional and physical well-being.
It is important to remember that treating social anxiety is an individualized process, and that what works for one person may not work for another. It is important to seek professional help to find the treatment option that best suits individual needs.
How do we treat social anxiety at PsicoGlobal?
At psicoGlobal, we focus treatment on cognitive-behavioral therapy, as it is one of the most effective treatments for social anxiety. This therapy focuses on changing thought and behavior patterns that contribute to social anxiety..
First, the psychologist will work with the patient to identify negative thoughts and mistaken beliefs that may be fueling social anxiety. The therapist will then help the patient replace these negative thoughts with more realistic thoughts and positive.
In addition, the therapist can work with the patient to improve their social skills and reduce avoidance of social situations. This is accomplished through gradual exposure to social situations, as well as teaching effective social skills, such as assertive communication and conflict resolution.
In summary, Cognitive behavioral therapy is a very effective approach to treating social anxiety by helping the patient to identify and change their negative thought and behavior patterns and to develop effective social skills..