Social Anxiety: Causes and treatment

Social Anxiety or social shyness is becoming more common, especially among children and teenagers. It can range from simple and usual shyness when meeting people for the first time to severe cases diagnosed by experts as a disorder known as social anxiety disorder. This article will explore different degrees of shyness, its causes, and the best ways to treat it.

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Omooma
Published on:Feb 4th 2024 |Updated on:Mar 10th 2024
علاج الخجل الاجتماعي

What is Social Anxiety?

We all feel nervous in different ways when meeting new people, starting school, or working in a new place. Feeling anxious when asked to speak in front of a group of unfamiliar faces is natural. However, severe social shyness, reaching the point of disorder, is known as social anxiety disorder. This abnormal Anxiety is accompanied by physical and severe psychological symptoms, leading the person suffering from this disorder to avoid social interactions and conversations due to extreme fear of humiliation and embarrassment in front of others.

Symptoms

Physical Symptoms

  • Heart palpitations
  • Blushing
  • Dizziness and loss of balance
  • Severe nausea that may lead to vomiting.
  • Trembling
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Muscle tension

Psychological Symptoms

  • Anxiety about others noticing feelings of nervousness and fear.
  • Absence from school or work due to extreme stress.
  • Intense Anxiety before, during, and after any social event that involves interacting with others.
  • Avoidance of social events and refraining from interacting with people during them
  • Fear of engaging in any embarrassing behavior that others might notice.
  • Avoidance of public restrooms
  • Avoiding answering the phone and prefer text messages
  • Avoiding eating in restaurants

Causes

There isn't a single known cause for people, whether children, teenagers, or adults, to experience social Anxiety. However, a combination of physical, genetic, and neurological factors may play a role in causing some individuals to develop social anxiety disorder. Scientists suggest that disruptions in neurotransmitter levels might cause an imbalance in serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate, which significantly affect mood and could be a contributing factor.

Risk factors

  • Negative experiences may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, general anxiety disorder, and social shyness.
  • Harsh upbringing and excessive parental control may make children and teenagers anxious about interacting with others.
  • Negative experiences resulting from interactions with others, such as bullying at school or work.
  • Being a victim of physical or emotional abuse.
  • Prolonged social isolation.

Diagnosis

It's crucial not to hastily label anyone exhibiting shyness as suffering from a social anxiety disorder. A thorough analysis and diagnosis by specialists are necessary when social shyness significantly impedes a person's daily life. Consulting a mental health professional for a comprehensive assessment is recommended in such cases. Based on the results, the mental health expert will formulate an appropriate treatment plan, if necessary.

Treatment

The treatment options for social anxiety disorder vary based on its severity. Some may require a single form of treatment, while others with severe social Anxiety may need complex and prolonged therapy. The following are prominent and influential treatment options:

Psychological Counseling

Individual counseling with a therapist or counselor or group therapy.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

A widely used and effective therapy that helps replace Anxiety with positive feelings, encouraging gradual acceptance of social interactions.

Joining Support Groups

Whether in-person or remote, support groups aid in learning skills and techniques that facilitate interaction with others and increase acceptance of social events.

Medication

Prescribed by a psychiatrist in cases of severe Anxiety.

Home Remedies to Overcome Shyness

  • Adopting a healthy, natural diet free from processed and harmful substances can help reduce stress and Anxiety.
  • Practicing breathing and relaxation exercises.
  • Regular journaling to express thoughts and feelings.
  • Ensuring sufficient sleep to clear the mind and manage various forms of Anxiety.
  • Engaging in activities like yoga, walking, and stretching exercises to control mental and psychological stress.
  • Reducing caffeine and energy drink intake.
  • Talking to a trusted person, such as a friend, therapist, or life coach.

Conclusion

Acceptance is crucial in supporting individuals facing any mental or behavioral challenges. It is vital to help our loved ones overcome their fears, manage their Anxiety, and simultaneously embrace their differences, offering continuous support and love.

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