Social Anxiety Disorder in 2022: Causes & Effective Treatments
Are you planning to call in sick to your corporate lunch gathering?
Do you find attending social gatherings nerve-wracking?
Does the thought of meeting new individuals make you have butterflies in your stomach?
Yep. You are most likely suffering from a social anxiety disorder.
Feeling nervous once in a blue moon is normal and acceptable.
However, if you are experiencing anxiety, sweaty palms, a racing heart, or stomach lurches, then that's not good.
Social anxiety, if ignored for a long time can make it difficult for you to run daily errands – causing several disruptions in your everyday life, and destroying your quality of life.
In this blog, we'll be taking a closer look at this type of anxiety, its causes, symptoms, and the effective ways to treat social anxiety disorder.
What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia or and short for SAD, is a mental health condition that makes people uncomfortable and uneasy.
It's normal for people to feel edgy before an important meeting or when they speak in public.
However, people suffering from social anxiety experience an intense and persistent fear of being watched, judged, or negatively evaluated in such scenarios.
It even becomes daunting for them to carry out day-to-day tasks such as eating in public, conversing at the workplace, or even buying essentialities from a local grocery store.
What Causes Social Anxiety Disorder?
Like several other anxiety disorders, a social anxiety disorder can be caused or triggered by several factors.
Let's discuss them one by one.
One of the many reasons people suffer from a social anxiety disorder is because it runs in their family.
According to a research study conducted at the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Bonn in Germany, a specific serotonin transporter gene called "SLC6A4" is strongly associated with someone's chance of suffering from social anxiety disorder (SAD).
If your parents have social phobia, you are most likely predisposed to experience it.
Interesting fact: Twins, precisely identical twins, are most likely to develop this disorder if one of them is experiencing it.
Underdeveloped Social Skills
Poor social skills or having an introverted personality can lead to an individual developing social anxiety.
When people have social skills, they get super worried about embarrassing themselves amongst a bunch of people.
It also leads to incorrect misinterpretation of others' facial expressions. For example, a person with a social anxiety disorder may believe that their presence is being frowned upon or sneered at when this is simply not the case!
Parents and their upbringing can significantly impact your personality.
Children are more likely to grow into bashful and introverted adults when parents are strict and controlling.
These adults are constantly bothered by the fact that their actions are incorrect, and somebody will judge them or pass negative remarks just like their parents did when they were younger.
Stressful Social Events While Growing Up
People who experience bullying, rejection, ridicule, or humiliation in the early years of their lives are more prone to social anxiety disorder.
Some people may even face similar situations at university or the workplace.
To avoid becoming a laughingstock, they start avoiding people and eventually develop a social anxiety disorder.
Negative Events in Life
Adverse events in your life, such as family feuds, traumatic and tragic incidents, or any abuse, may be one of the reasons why someone may suffer from a social anxiety disorder.
Something as significant as a parents' abusive relationship or minor as going blank for a few seconds in a class presentation can significantly trigger social anxiety.
What Are The Symptoms Of Social Anxiety Disorder?
When a person experiences social anxiety disorder, it becomes visible.
We have broken down the symptoms of social anxiety disorder into three categories for your convenience and better understanding.
Physical Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder:
- Racing Hearbeat
- Sweaty Palms
- Stomach flu or nausea
- Shaking or trembling
Emotional Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder
- Fear of social situations, your actions may be judged
- Feeling too anxious about what you are wearing or how you look
- Experiencing discomfort interacting with strangers
- Fear of getting humiliated and becoming a laughing stock
- Expecting and extracting the worst possible consequence of your every action in a social setting.
Behavioral Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder
- Avoiding everyday social situations, like attending parties or gatherings
- Difficulty making eye contact
- Difficulty initiating or continuing a conversation
- Staying quiet for more than usual amongst a bunch of people
- Over-analyzing your performance in front of others
- Experiencing tics, or repetitive muscle movements, during social interactions.
How To Use CBD To Treat Social Anxiety?
Various effective ways can help you control and overcome your social fears. One of the most recommended treatments is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
In cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions, the therapists walk you through different hypothetical social situations and guide you on how you should behave if these situations happen in real life.
Medications are another method adopted by several people suffering from social anxiety.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed to treat social anxiety disorder.
The only SSRIs that are currently FDA-approved for this condition are sertraline (Zoloft) and immediate- and extended-release paroxetine (Paxil, Paxil CR)
Some prefer fixing their social anxiety problems themselves before consulting an expert physician.
Yoga and meditation work wonders. These mindful exercises help reduce anxiety and stress and give you much-needed encouragement to face people in social settings.
A study revealed that practicing mindful exercises improves sleep quality and less anxiety.
Improving Sleep Pattern
Social anxiety is associated with insomnia and irregular sleeping pattern.
Having said that, getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep is essential, especially if you have an important event or meeting to attend the next day.
Practicing proper sleep hygiene will make you feel good and positive, enabling you to face social situations more confidently.
CBD To Treat Anxiety
While several medically-proven treatments exist to treat anxiety, several people are consuming CBD to overcome anxiety issues.
You'll find numerous online testimonies from people who claim to have overcome their anxiety and insomnia through CBD.
Several physical or environmental factors can cause social Anxiety disorder.
Understanding the causes of social anxiety disorder can help you reduce the stress and symptoms and may even encourage you to consult an expert physician.
If the causes seem to be purely neurological, for instance, CBT is the perfect fit. However, if the reasons seem to stem from bad experiences or behaviors, self-help, and organic treatments are the best approaches to follow.
We recommend gauging each treatment for social anxiety disorder and going with the one that works best for you.