There are strategies you can use to overcome social phobia and anxieties relating to it. Welcome to our Social Anxiety Disorder Self-Help Plan!
What Is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is the phrase used to describe feelings of discomfort, nervousness, tension or awkwardness that happen specifically when other people are present.
At low levels, social anxiety is experienced by almost everyone. It only becomes a problem if it is allowed to develop.
What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety disorder is a piece of faulty conditioning in the subconscious mind. Essentially, this conditioning automatically makes you feel threatened in social situations. That feeling of threat makes your body deliver an anxiety response.
To kick-start your recovery, I think it’s important that you learn exactly what this anxiety disorder is. You’re in a much better position to recover when you have a firm understanding of this disorder.
It’s likely that you’ve never had this explained to you properly before (lots of people misunderstand SAD) so click the closest above blue headline to gain a quick understanding of the problem.
What Is Social Phobia?
Is it different to S.A.D?
Yes, social phobia and social anxiety disorder are different. This fact is not recognised in the professional mental health world, but seeing WHY they are different will definitely help you to understand your problem better…
In short, plenty of people who suffer from social anxiety are NOT scared of the situations that make them anxious – they just put up with such situations. If you’re not scared of SA, then it isn’t phobia – but it IS anxiety disorder.
Click the nearest above headline to see whether you have social phobia and social anxiety disorder, or just S.A.D on it’s own. It’s vital that you know this information because it shows you the exact problem you’ve got, which makes recovery simpler.
Diagnosing Social Anxiety Disorder
Diagnosing social anxiety disorder is something that only a doctor, psychologist or counsellor of some sort can do.
As someone with a wealth of knowledge on SA, but no ‘credentials’, I can help you overcome it but I can’t myself answer your question “Do I have social anxiety disorder?”
If you know, in your heart of hearts that you have social phobia, having recognised the social anxiety disorder symptoms in yourself, then it doesn’t matter whether you go for a diagnosis or not.
The only reason you might get a diagnosis would be for a sense of relief to be able to say “Right, so this is definitely what I have, and it’s very common – which is reassuring”.
So whilst diagnosing social phobia isn’t crucial, it might just help you find some peace of mind.
If you flick through my pages of social anxiety disorder symptoms you can do a self assessment and you’ll soon know if you’ve got it or not. Obviously you can’t ‘officially’ have SAD because that requires a professional diagnosis – but in your gut, you’ll know.
The Different Types of Social Anxiety
Social anxiety affects people in different types of social situations. For some, being around others at ANY time will make them feel like they’re about to die. For others, it’s only in specific circumstances, such as when they’re the focus of a group.
Why Severe Social Anxiety
Disorder Is Beatable
People with a severe disorder will typically avoid interaction with people as much as they can.
This is because interaction with people who aren’t registered in their brains as “safe people” gives them extremely uncomfortable anxiety symptoms. When I say extremely uncomfortable, I’m not kidding. At worst, it can feel like the sufferer is going to die.
The more often people with severe social phobia avoid situations, the stronger their subconscious view that “people are a threat” grows – so the disorder keeps building momentum.
What’s notable is that people with very severe social phobia don’t suffer panic attacks that often, because of the avoidance. They suffer more from the consequences of the social avoidance…
The Consequences of Social Avoidance
The main consequence is loneliness. When you avoid social interaction, any friendships you had will tend to die off, and you’ll suffer feelings of loneliness and isolation because of it.
Those feelings often trigger depression, which seems to be the major battle that people with severe S.A.D. have.
Essentially, life is lonely as someone with severe social phobia. When my S.A.D. was at it’s worse, in my mid teens, I had 1 friend at school. I spent my weekends at home – hardly ever went out. It gets depressing! Anyway, enough of that; let’s talk solutions!
How Social Anxiety And Depression Link, and Why You Can Beat Both Of Them
Depression is often a result of the lifestyle that the anxiety disorder sufferers live. Essentially, you become disconnected with the world around you, and disconnection from people is a big causer of depression.
Click the link above to not only see how depression and SA are close buddies, but also why you can overcome both problems with the same solution.
Why Social Anxiety and Shyness Link, and How They Differ Too
Anxiety and shyness are 2 totally different things, although when you look at someone’s behaviour, it can be hard to tell whether they have social phobia or shyness (especially if it’s extreme shyness).
The Difference Between
Social Anxiety and Shyness
The main difference is that people with this type of anxiety feel uncomfortable in social settings. In contradiction, shy people feel very comfortable in social situations. Having said that, you can be both shy and socially anxious.
To be shy is a sense of social carefulness. You get a good feel for the people you’re with before you vibe with them too much.
Once you know what sort of people they are, you tend to open up more.
It’s like a period of analysis before you open up. In my opinion, mild shyness is a form of intelligence – so in and of itself, it’s a positive trait.
Shyness is a personality characteristic, whereas anxiety is an emotional state.
How Social Anxiety and Shyness
People who are shy are more prone to anxiety in social settings than those who are not shy. I believe that this is because shyness is often a result of being quite sensitive.
If you’re sensitive to things, then you’ll probably protect that sensitivity from causing you any problems – such a protection measure is, in my opinion, what shyness is.
Sensitive people are more prone to social anxiety because their central nervous system is more volatile. Their ‘feelings run high’ a lot easier than most people’s do.
Sensitivity is a fantastic trait to have, because you can use it in more beneficial ways than damaging – but it also has it’s drawbacks…
As a sensitive person you’re more likely to experience anxiety in an extremely uncomfortable amount – which makes it more likely that you’d behave in ways so as to avoid that anxiety in the future – which is the behaviour that creates the disorder.
Essentially, social phobia and shyness are linked by sensitivity, which is an almost guaranteed trait in a shy person.
The Similarities and Differences Between
Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia
Agoraphobia and social anxiety are essentially the same thing; they are both inappropriate anxiety reactions – but to differing ‘triggers’.
If you think that you might have social phobia and agoraphobia, then I can promise that there’s a similar solution to both problems.
- They manifest as anxiety reactions
- They include the same group of symptoms
- They are both uncomfortable but totally harmless, health-wise
- They are behaviourally created conditions, which means…
- They have the same behavioural ‘cure’
- The stimulus for anxiety for social sufferers, is other people.
- The stimulus for agoraphobia is a feeling that if you had a panic attack in a place that you don’t ‘feel safe in’ (like a shopping mall) then there’d be nowhere to go.