Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder, also referred to as social phobia, is an anxiety disorder. Those with social anxiety disorder are anxious about how they will behave in front of others, whether in everyday interactions or in a large event. The fear surrounding social interactions can cause excessive stress or prevent regular thought and planning. It is normal to be slightly anxious at social events or around many people, but social anxiety becomes a disorder when fear of public situations prevent you from attending regular activities, such as work, family events, or even eating in public.
If this sounds familiar, you may have a social anxiety disorder. If you feel nervous or sad before or during social events because you fear something may go wrong, you may want to get evaluated. You might fear that others are judging you or that you will do something to humiliate yourself, all while understanding that these fears are irrational.
Physical symptoms include shakiness, sweating, rapid heartbeats, and blushing. In adults, it is also common to fear people noticing your anxiety, which can lead to more anxiety.
Social anxiety disorders can be treated with medication or through therapy. Medications reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders, while therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) will help you change your behaviors that lead to feelings of anxiety.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapies (MCBT or MBT) approach the relationship between you and your anxious thoughts. MCBT helps focus on your bodily sensations, especially sensations during a moment of anxiety. Remaining present during these moments are important, so a person will approach anxious thoughts, rather than avoid them. This approach can show that anxiety is a reaction to nonexistent threats.