The holiday season is here and we know more than anything that it means attending a number of social gatherings and going to places where there are a lot of people –to shop or to hang out. These normal situations can cause anxiety (and even panic) to some, however.
We've learned that social phobia is a common type of anxiety disorder. But what makes it different from the usual discomfort one feels in social settings?
· Social anxiety is more than shyness
· Social anxiety is different from introversion
· Social anxiety is an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others
Like many mental health conditions, social phobia likely arises from a complex combination of environmental and biological factors. Possible causes are:
§ Brain structure: The amygdala may play a role in controlling one's fear response. Those who have overactive amygdala may have a heightened response to fear, hence resulting in increased anxiety in social situations.
§ Inherited traits: Anxiety disorders tend to run in families –-although it isn't clear how much of this may be due to genetics and due to learned behavior.
§ Environment: Social anxiety could be a learned behavior, i.e. some people develop this condition after an unpleasant or embarrassing experience. There may also be a relationship between the disorder and parents who model anxious behavior in social situations or parents who are overly protective/controlling of their children.
Here are short films to help us truly understand the struggle of having social anxiety: No Words and Living With Social Anxiety. In support of what’s portrayed in the video, research actually suggests that, “Contrary to lay belief, we found that people with social anxiety disorder were happier when with others than alone. Feeling anxious or concerned about socializing does not preclude experiencing pleasure while socializing.” In another study, they found that both socially anxious and non-socially anxious individuals were happier when they're with other people. These findings help us realize that socially anxious individuals are not devoid of the basic human desire for connection –-they just have trouble obtaining/experiencing it.*
In this brief lecture, Dr. Snipes explains what social anxiety is and offers actionable tips in coping. Yes, there is good news: you can develop new and healthy habits to manage the symptoms and overcome social anxiety. There are interventions and preventions available for you.
If you, or someone you love, are struggling with social anxiety disorder, JarvisHypnotherapy offers the help you most need.