Are you looking for social anxiety treatment? Has your behaviour or mood changed due to social anxiety, leading you to be concerned to get help? Does this sound like you?
You may be worried about being judged by other people or concerned about what others think of you. Do you feel self-conscious just walking around and going about your daily business? Can walking down the high street trigger your social anxiety? Perhaps you might also avoid meeting new people? Good social anxiety treatment will involve looking directly at your thoughts and feelings. Treatment will often involve gently exposing you to ‘trigger’ situations in which you feel social anxiety, so that you can become more accustomed to facing your fears. Take a look at this short video about social anxiety.
If you’ve been feeling this way for about six months and you’re finding it hard to do everyday activities, be that talking to friends, going to work or school, it’s possible you may have a social anxiety disorder. This is more common than you think. Social anxiety disorder is considered a mental health condition and often will involve a persistent, intense anxiety of being watched or that you are being judged by other people. That may be an anxiety around people you’ve never really interacted with before or in familiar situations, if you feel under any sort of pressure. Often social anxiety fears can affect your school work, personal life or other aspects of your activities. If anxiety is high, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain friendships. That’s especially true if you often feel judged or that other people are thinking or talking about you behind your back.
However, it’s important to remember that social anxiety treatments are available. Getting treatment will mean you stop letting social anxiety disorder preventing you from doing things you really want to do. Soon you will begin a path to living your life more fully. You may be scared that treatment will involve looking at fears directly. You may even be concerned that social anxiety treatment will leave you without any sense of security or without alternative coping strategies. All of these fears are common and a good treatment programme will ensure you feel confident and happy about those concerns too.
What is social anxiety disorder?
Social anxiety disorder is a very frequently diagnosed disorder. This means that though you may feel different from other people and may experience intrusive thoughts that leave you feeling as if you are going a little crazy, there are other people going through something similar. Often somebody with social anxiety will experience:
Frequent intrusive strong thoughts
constant feelings of anxiety or fear
a racing heartbeat or knots in your tummy.
Social anxiety is felt often in social situations, when meeting new people, when dating, going to a job interview, talking to people in a shop or when asking questions at work or in class. These can all feel daunting as you think others are looking at you or are judging you. Social anxiety is normally felt in the presence of others rather than when alone.
Social anxiety treatment will look also at how your social anxiety can affect activities we do when in public. For example, if you have social anxiety, eating or drinking, using a public toilet might feel anxiety provoking. You may feel that people are watching you eat. You may find that anxiety extends to swallowing food or drink. It is very common that people in work meetings feel self conscious about drinking in front of others if feeling nervous or anxious.
What are the causes of social anxiety disorder?
Social anxiety disorder might be something that runs within family units. It can be common that if one family member has high anxiety, other family members may also. This may be a learned behaviour. During childhood we often misread other people’s actions or facial expressions. As we grow up we mimic that too, expressing anxiety or fear when it is not necessary. If a parent always overreacts to small problems, a child becomes anxious or fearful, concerned about pleasing the parent or worried about their own safety. These fear reaction patterns may continue into adulthood too, resulting in a social anxiety disorder.
Just remember that as children we need to work out how to cope with situations, get what we need and feel safe. All children want the love and recognition of their parent or carer. If, though, the parent reacts with anger or is critical when the child has not done anything that was too wrong, the child becomes anxious, unsure if they are in fact ‘good’ or ‘bad’. They do not know how to get love or attention, since they feel rejected or not worthy of love for just ‘being themselves’. Rather than seeing clear approval by the parent of their natural actions, they are greeted with anger or fear inducing behaviour by the parent. Of course in most cases parents are not doing this intentionally.
This creates a pattern of reacting to people which can go into adulthood too. If a child becomes fearful of that parental anxious reaction or aggressive behaviour, rather than risk the distressing reaction of the parent, the child chooses to stay quiet and not express or often even feel their emotions. This suppression of emotions and self in childhood can lead to having underdeveloped social skills or not being able to really understand your own emotions very clearly. During social anxiety treatment, I have noticed this come up for several clients. Often the work that needs to be done during social anxiety disorder hypnotherapy is to become more aware and more present with one’s own emotions. This might involve learning not to be scared of one’s own fears or anxieties. It’s totally normal and human to have fears and anxieties. However, it’s when we become fearful of those fears or anxieties that a social phobia can begin.
Does treatment look at what causes social anxiety?
Social anxiety treatment may look more directly at helping you cope in anxiety triggering situations. Often CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) will work in that way by gently exposing you to face your fears. Many good social anxiety treatment programmes, and that includes the one which I use, using hypnotherapy, will look at the causes of social anxiety as well.
You may be concerned about being rejected, judged, or humiliated. Social anxiety disorder really does affect people in ways we don’t realize. To the outside observer you look okay, however, inside just going into work or school can feel very challenging. You may be worrying about things in a way that you acknowledge is exaggerated.
When your fears or anxieties cause you to stay away from places or events that you’d really like to go to, that’s when it’s time to seek help. I use hypnotherapy and other coaching exercises to help people reduce social anxiety. If you would like to find out more about my social anxiety treatment, please get in touch. It’s true of course, to say that everyone feels anxiety at different times. Be that before an interview, giving a speech or anything involving being on display in public. These situations can be challenging because they bring up old fears often from childhood. These are often situations or memories that we’ve tried to ignore. Social anxiety treatment will look at the causes from the past that have contributed to how you feel in the present.
What are the symptoms of social anxiety disorder?
If you’ve ever been in a situation and felt anxiety and you’ll be familiar with the following:
feeling nauseous or sick
sweating, trembling, racing, heartbeat
your body posture becomes rigid
you don’t make much eye contact
your voice may drop in volume
you feel a sense of fear and it’s difficult to be with other people
you become self-conscious, even embarrassed or awkward, in front of other people
you experience intrusive thoughts such as whether people are judging you
you stay away or avoid places that trigger these fears or concerns
What can I expect from social anxiety disorder treatment?
In the first instance, if you feel you have a social anxiety disorder, you are advised to consult your doctor. You may find it beneficial to have an official diagnosis. Following this you may be referred to a psychiatrist, social worker, psychologist or counsellor. Sometimes you may feel that you do not want to be labelled with having a disorder and that’s totally understandable.
Common talking therapy treatments for social anxiety will include treatments such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), which can be extremely effective, in particular if you are avoiding situations due to fear or embarrassment. During hypnotherapy social anxiety treatment sessions, I use aspects of CBT and we really go into greater detail into the causes and underlying meanings of your behaviours and fears. Clients find that not only do their anxiety levels drop but in fact their levels of confidence rise as well.
Social anxiety can often be broken down into separate, easy to manage pieces. It might be that you feel high levels of anxiety when you go to work, but you feel fine when out with friends or vice versa. In other words, you do have resources and abilities and skills of confidence and resilience in some areas but not always in others. It can sometimes be a matter of really getting to the bottom of why anxiety is high in one place but not in another. Of course, for many, social anxiety is a constant hum of fear at all times.
Sometimes anxiety comes about from a traumatic experience. That would be something I look at using hypnotherapy as well. Social anxiety disorder is something that affects many people and you may find online supportive forums useful to look into as well. Psychotherapy and CBT are useful to help you think differently and behave and react differently in trigger situations, helping you to feel less anxious and less fearful.
You doctor or consultant may recommend medication. There are three types of medication used to treat social anxiety disorder; beta blockers, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
Beta blockers are medications that will help you block some of those physical feelings and symptoms that you have. Anxiety can have symptoms, including sweating, tremors or feeling light headed. Beta blockers help to prevent those symptoms rising too high. However beta blockers do not address the causes of your social anxiety.
Antidepressants are a common way to treat depression and anxiety. You may find they help to lower your social anxiety disorder symptoms. Sometimes they can take a few weeks to kick him and occasionally may have some side effects. Your doctor will explain the pros and cons of taking antidepressants for anxiety. Though antidepressants do not address the underlying causes of your social anxiety, antidepressant medication can be useful to take the edge off. They can calm you down enough, helping you feel much calmer. Once feeling calmer you can gain a great deal from treatments such as CBT or hypnotherapy and address the real causes of your social anxiety disorder.
Anti-anxiety medications can be quite powerful and are often used ‘in the moment’ to reduce an immediate feeling of panic or anxiety. These medications are often prescribed for short periods of time only. This is often since there can be concerns about addiction to these medications. It is essential therefore to follow your doctor’s guidelines of taking them and not use them as a crutch.
I believe strongly that talking therapy such as CBT or using hypnotherapy can really help people with anxiety disorders. During hypnotherapy sessions we look at the situations and examples that raise your blood pressure and trigger social anxiety. We also look at building your inner resources. We look at coping mechanism and strengthen your inner resources of confidence and calm too. You will have readily available your resources of true real confidence and inner strength, to really do well in situations that you have felt social anxiety.
During sessions, I may also give you small home assignments. These are always stimulating and helpful to move you forward and create momentum and more confidence. You might also find that there were other areas of your life that needed looking at. Sometimes social anxiety disorder is a result of not really being focused on goals or lacking hope or assertiveness in aspects of your life. What would you truly like to be different, be that within relationships or at work? Moving in a positive direction can help create more coping mechanisms. This in turn can help you feel calmer and more confident about your social anxiety.
Wishing you well.