Social anxiety is more than having butterflies in your stomach before giving a presentation at work or sweaty palms before a date. It’s debilitating. It can profoundly interfere with your social life, career and happiness. Fortunately, though, it’s a condition that can be treated effectively.

The Emergence of Social Anxiety

It’s not entirely clear what causes social anxiety disorder, but it may be genetics, a hyperactive amygdala or both. The amygdala is the region of the brain that triggers fear.

Additionally, parents who avoid social interactions or who often seem nervous are more likely to have children with social anxiety.

During the course of any one year, approximately 7 percent of Americans suffer from this disorder. It afflicts about twice as many women as men.

Social anxiety can arise at any age, though it rarely shows up in individuals older than 25. In most cases, it first appears when people are at the start or in the middle of their teenage years.

Terrible Consequences

Social anxiety makes you criticize yourself continually. You might keep mentally replaying times when you failed — or when you believe you failed. For example, you may repeatedly remember conversations in which you didn’t know what to say and came across, in your estimation, as awkward.

In fact, you might be such a harsh self-critic that you find mistakes in every interaction you have. You tell yourself, “My posture was bad” or “I laughed too loudly.” The list could go on and on.

Therefore, when you talk to others, you might sweat, shake, blush, feel dizzy, get nauseated or exhibit other common signs of fear.

If you suffer from this kind of anxiety, your brain will often interpret other people’s comments and actions as hostile. For example, if you saw a coworker in a crowded restaurant and that person didn’t come over to speak to you, you might assume he or she dislikes you. However, it may have been the case that this individual simply didn’t notice you.

This anxiety leads to a constant fear of humiliation and an avoidance of social situations. Making decisions about the future can become difficult, and your self-esteem can decline dramatically.

Eventually, helplessness and depression could overwhelm you every day. You might feel doomed to isolation because you see no way out of your lifestyle. This problem sometimes results in drug or alcohol addiction and even suicide.

Treating Social Anxiety

When a person receives professional help for anxiety, it has a range of positive physical effects. For instance, it can clear up digestive blockages, and it can prevent cardiovascular disease.

Your social anxiety treatment will begin with a thorough evaluation. Your doctor might then prescribe you medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors to rebalance the chemicals in your brain. You might also undergo cognitive behavioral therapy. During those sessions, a psychologist will help you visualize the social world in a different, less stressful manner and teach you methods of working through your anxious spells.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to live with social anxiety disorder. At the same time, you can’t will it away; it’s vital to get assistance. You can call the Crosby Clinic now for more information about available therapies or to schedule an initial appointment. The Crosby Clinic’s experts will aid you in reclaiming your life. Once more, you’ll be able to enjoy your day-to-day activities to the fullest degree possible.

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