What is Social Anxiety?

AnxietySocial anxiety is a chronic mental health condition where interactions with others cause irrational feelings of being negatively evaluated or judged, self-consciousness,  worry about embarrassment or humiliation, or concern about offending others. As with other mental health issues everyone has slightly different symptoms and thought processes. For some people their mind just goes completely blank in a social situation due to anxiety thus compounding the problem. Social anxiety causes you to overthink every conversion, thinking what is the best thing to say, then thinking that you are thinking too long for the response and eventually how you never contributed to the conversion or what you should have said after the fact.

Avoidance

The stress and discomfort involved in social interactions leads to avoiding them altogether. Other people sometimes attribute your avoiding them as a slight, thinking your too good for them, or that you don’t like them which is just not the case. If you could just tell them maybe they would understand and give you some slack. Somewhere along the line it became a secret so you know you can’t share it with anybody. The fear of others finding out about your social anxiety and the chance of them not understanding or rejecting you doesn’t seem worth the risk.

Who Does it Impact?

It is not just you. Millions of people suffer from social anxiety. It is the third largest psychological problem in the United States alone.

“Just get over it”

People without social anxiety give useless advice such as “Just get over it”, “yeah eventually I came out of my shell you’ll get there”, “we all get nervous sometimes”, “just be yourself” or “don’t worry what others think”. While they may have good intentions they are not doing any help and have no idea what it is like to live with social anxiety. Fortunately there are well documented treatments available.

 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to be one of the best treatments for social anxiety. The techniques used help to produce long-lasting, permanent relief from anxiety. As discussed in my previous post, years and years of sitting behind a computer complaining about your problems is not going to help you get better. Socially anxious people who analyze and keep going over their problems end up making their anxiety worse. If a person is tired of living a sub-par life with crippling anxiety then sticking to a comprehensive cognitive-behavioral treatment plan can lessen and virtually eliminate anxiety and make life more worth living.

Medication

There are too many medications, herbs, pills, or natural remedies to list that claim to treat social anxiety. I can only personally recommend what has worked for me which is red monkey, the main ingredient being Phenibut, which I discuss here. Unfortunately medication only relieves your anxiety until it wears off whereas cognitive-behavioral therapy will help you in the long run.