Social anxiety is a particular type of anxiety that manifests itself as fear or uneasy feelings that some people will experience in the presence of others. This feeling is not easy to describe and is thus often subject to ridicule and mocking, creating a vicious circle for those suffering from this kind of anxiety.
This mental health condition is not specific to a certain kind of people, nor is it easy to define the reasons behind it. Some of the causes for social anxiety or social phobia are environmental, while others include a complex series of genetic and inherent factors that may cause this mental condition.
Is it just jitters?
Many of us have a certain level of fear when confronted with social situations. This reasonable amount of jitters is something that we inherited a long time ago from our ancestors. They needed this kind of feeling uneasy in order to survive uncertain situations. However, in today’s world, this mental trait we were left with has become somewhat of an obsolete mental mechanism. Still, it has its benefits in certain situations.
Live performers like public speakers, musicians, actors in plays and so on, need this kind of mild anxiety in order to get the maximum effort out of their performance. It prevents us from letting common mistakes get in our way of performing in front of others. Anyone who had to speak in front of an audience knows exactly how it feels like to be exposed, and thus we give it our best in order not to fail.
Social anxiety, on the other hand, has little to do with this kind of jitters. Under no circumstance is it acceptable to consider social anxiety and this casual worry as one and the same. There is a profound difference in feeling exposed when you’re really exposed and feeling exposed all the time for no reason.
In order to fully understand the magnitude of this mental health condition, we have to state that this type of anxiety is the second most common anxiety in the world. Nonetheless, people who suffer from it are often ridiculed and mocked because of ignorance and unawareness about the condition.
Signs of social anxiety are often emotional and translate into the way we behave when confronted or in the anticipation of being confronted with social situations. Fear of these situations is often the major symptom of social anxiety.
Another common sign of social anxiety is the concern of being embarrassed and humiliated in front of others. This sign is very dangerous as it is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. You get into a social situation, you feel anxious because of it, you start being concerned about embarrassing and humiliating yourself, others notice your lack of confidence because of the anxiety and the risk of you embarrassing yourself rises.
The fear of this vicious circle is another symptom that plagues many of those suffering from this mental health condition. The feeling is present even when there’s no one around, which makes it much worse as it’s a sign of an advanced social anxiety disorder.
Situations that cause social anxiety
Mundane social events and situations become hard to endure to those who suffer from social anxiety. This aspect of this mental health condition is one of the more troublesome for those who suffer, because it affects their day-to-day life, making it almost impossible to interact and be a part in everyday human interaction.
Interacting with strangers is often one of the biggest fears people with social anxiety disorders have to deal with. This basic social situation becomes to them an insuperable obstacle. Other fears and worries people with this condition have are using public toilets, dating, making eye contact, going to parties and socializing in general and so on.
What are the causes of social anxiety?
Scientists are still not sure what causes social anxiety. The research done so far on this subject suggests that in many cases the environment is one of the places where to look at when trying to find the cause of a particular case of social anxiety.
If the person with social anxiety symptoms had an abusive childhood, it may be the reason for the lack of confidence shown in front of others. Bullying can also be a factor that causes withdrawal from the outside world and aloofness from society in general.
Biology is another factor that may be responsible for social anxiety. Research suggests that a part of the brain structure called the amygdala may be the cause of a higher level of fear response in certain people, and thus causing worries and anxiety in the event of social exposure.
The third factor that is often referred to as being the cause for social anxiety is genetics. As mentioned before, we inherited a lot from our ancestors, but also from our not-so-distant family members. If there is a trend of social anxiety running in your family, then it’s more likely you’ll inherit this type of mental health condition as well.
Hard to treat it?
Social anxiety is a very complex disorder. The logic behind the causation of this condition still baffles many psychologists, biologists and physicians alike.
Treatments for social anxieties are often based on psychotherapy, which has shown an improvement of symptoms in the long run. Holistic solutions like the PanicMiracle are also something worth considering if you’re not particularly willing to start any kind of drug-based therapy.
Of course, if you’re suffering from severe social anxiety that prevents you from being an active part of society, there are prescription drugs that are especially targeted towards decreasing anxiety in order to help overcome socially awkward behavior.
Since social anxiety has a lot to do with confidence and self-consciousness, one way to battle this mental health condition is getting involved in something you’re good at. Try new things every day until you find something you’re really good at, and then stick with it. You’ll be able to build up confidence in no time and tackle social anxiety head on.