- Do you get nervous or anxious in situations where you might be negatively evaluated such as meeting new people, giving a speech, calling someone on the phone, ordering off a menu at a restaurant or being around others who might be observing you in some way?
- Are you worried people will think of you if they see you becoming anxious (seeing you sweat, shake, or get red in the face)? Do you worry about not knowing what to say to people in social situations… not knowing what to talk about?
- Do you feel extremely anxious before having to speak in front of others? Do you avoid face-to-face interactions through the use of technology?
You may be struggling with social anxiety disorder.
Social anxiety disorder affects nearly 15 million adults in American. Often individuals suffering from social anxiety disorder will develop such a strong fear of certain social situations where they might be evaluated negatively that they avoid them all together.
This is more debilitating than just being shy. Social anxiety disorder can negatively impact one’s life.
Examples and ways in which social anxiety disorder can impact one’s life include:
- Turning down a job promotion because it requires public speaking
- Avoiding or turning down invitations to socialize and build relationships because of the anxiety leading up to social events
- Being isolated and feeling lonely because of avoidance of social situations in which there is fear of being embarrassed.
- Social anxiety disorder can lead to other problematic disorders such as substance use disorders, depression, loneliness, and even difficulty getting a job because of fears and anxiety around interviewing.
What are the causes of Social Anxiety Disorder?
Our knowledge of social anxiety disorder and what causes it can be summarized as a mix of social, environmental, and biological/genetic factors. Typically social anxiety disorder emerges around age 13 and can affect individuals well into adulthood.
Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder
The good news is that we have very effective evidence-based treatment for social anxiety disorder.
Our psychologists are trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for social anxiety disorder. In this treatment we will help clients learn to manage their anxious thoughts in a way that improves their emotional response. The behavioral aspect of treatment will include relaxation training to manage the physical response of anxiety and also exposure therapy which will involve practicing approaching situations that clients are avoiding, now with new tools to use to help cope in the moment.