With vaccines rolling out and COVID-19 restrictions lifting, many of us are excited to get back to the social aspects of our lives. We’re thrilled to go on a bar crawl, or dine out, or visit relatives, or go on vacation. Even going back to the office can give us a pleasant sense of normalcy.
But for people with social anxiety, with the increased social opportunities comes added pressure. Social anxiety is more than just being shy or quiet: it’s a seriously debilitating mental illness that affects the quality of people’s lives. They deserve both treatment and our understanding.
What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety disorder is a mental disorder where the afflicted experience debilitating, excessive stress from everyday social interactions. They feel as if everyone is judging them, waiting on them to make a mistake, or that others will recognize their nervousness.
It’s normal to feel nervous sometimes, especially before a first date, a big job interview, or another important occasion. But most of us can rally through our fears and overcome it. For someone with social anxiety, it’s not just these occasions, but any social occasion that can cause crippling and paralyzing fear. They may spend weeks dreading something as simple as a birthday party.
As a result, people with social anxiety can have very challenging lives. They can have trouble forming meaningful friendships, holding a job, attending school, or doing basic daily tasks.
What Causes It?
Like many anxiety disorders, the causes of social anxiety are multifaceted and complex. A common cause is trauma of some kind, such as repeated bullying or negative social experiences as a child. A 2017 study found that it is partially genetic, similar to depression or other mood disorders. People with very visible conditions, like a large scar or skin lesions, may also develop social anxiety for fear of being mocked or judged.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is very helpful for social anxiety. A skilled therapist can identify the roots of your anxiety, the behaviors they cause, and how to change them. You deserve to conquer your fears, and Azevedo Family Psychology can help! If you or someone you love struggle with social anxiety, contact us today to learn more.