What is social anxiety?
Social anxiety (or social phobia) is one of the most common anxiety disorders. It is persistent and overwhelming fear of social situations which can lead the individual to feel unable to manage even everyday activities such as speaking on the phone or interacting with others in a shop. Whilst anxiety about social situations can be at times normal, someone with social anxiety will worry more excessively and feel far more overwhelmed at the thought of a social situation. Sometimes those worries can take a concrete form such as doing something that is humiliating or embarrassing, blushing, sweating or appearing inadequate in some way.
Social anxiety can be described as a complex phobia and can be a condition that is debilitating for the person and limiting of their life. Some of the symptoms of social anxiety are described below:
- Dread of everyday activities such as meetings, talking in groups, speaking on the phone, shopping
- Low self esteem
- Fear of being criticised
- Avoiding eye contact
- Misuse of drugs or alcohol to manage social anxiety
Treatment for social anxiety
Psychological therapy can be very effective both in helping you understand the origins of your social anxiety and in helping you overcome it. Certain forms of therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy and cognitive analytic therapy can be especially beneficial for social anxiety. In some instances, people can also benefit from medication to help them manage anxiety symptoms.
The psychologists at The Chelsea Psychology Clinic have experience in the treatment of social anxiety and can also advise as to whether it would be helpful to arrange to meet with our Consultant Psychiatrist to consider if medication would be of help. You can also discuss the option of medication with your GP.