What is Social Anxiety Disorder
Let us start by knowing what social anxiety disorder actually is. It is also called social phobia, the fear or phobia faced by people which creates an inferiority complex, a humiliation in their behaviour.
This behavioural change is caused when an individual fears the judgmental attitude of others towards him/her.
Thus social anxiety affects the overall lifestyle of a person. He/she may avoid social gatherings and find difficulties in speaking or getting along. The constant fear of being judged by people or receiving negative comments can create an imbalance in the mental health of a person.
A report from Apollo Hospitals states that more than a million cases of social anxiety are registered every year in India. The ages affected by this disorder include children of 6 years to an elderly person of 60 years and above.
Epidemiological studies reported that after depression and alcoholism, social anxiety is 3 rd largest psychological problem prevailing in the United States at the estimated rate of 7%.
When does a person Experience social anxiety?
Emotional distress or social anxiety is experienced in situations like:
- Being introduced to people
- Receiving criticism
- Being watched while doing something
- Being treated as ‘Center of attraction’ or ‘centre of attention
- On being asked to say something or speak regarding a particular topic
Causes of Social Anxiety
Social anxiety can be a result of a history of frequent abuse, bullying or teasing. Introverts or shy people can experience this kind of problem more often. Children who grew up in a controlled parenting environment face this issue too.
Social Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
The symptoms include:
- Trouble in breathing
- Muscle tension
- Rapid heartbeats
Social Anxiety Measures
Few healthy and daily exercises can help in the treatment of anxiety and also works at relieving stress and having mental peace. These can be categorized into natural/self-performing measures, and if these don’t work, than consulting a doctor, or psychiatrist or by going through online programs like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), etc.
Natural ways to cure anxiety disorder
- Eating healthy food
- Having Sufficient sleep
- Exercising Deep breathing
- Telling someone about the issue
- Keeping a rational outlook
- Staying active and concentrated
- Avoiding alcohol, smoking, caffeine
- Taking a break and going on vacations
- Spending time with family and friends
- Consuming herbal teas and supplements
- Indulging oneself in writing or strategies like time management
- Spending time with animals and pets
- Staying positive and accepting whatever comes in the way of life
- Being courageous enough to handle negative comments or criticism
- Practising aromatherapy: this therapy helps in getting sufficient sleep, boosting mood, getting relaxation, and also reducing blood pressure and heart diseases. Aromatherapy is done using fragrance and massage. Essential oils and aromatic products are used to provide relaxation to both body and mind of an individual.
Fighting anxiety through Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is psychotherapy designed to improve mental health and relieve stress in an individual. It works by helping the affected in changing their perception of their respective fear, and improvising their thinking capability and behaviour.
Types of cognitive-behavioural therapy
- Brief Cognitive Behavioral Therapy ( BCBT ): is used to cure anxiety which is also associated with other medical problems. These types of patients face acute problems rather than chronic mental issues.
- Cognitive Emotional Behavioral Therapy is an extended version of CBT and aims to help the affected evaluate their emotions and handle their emotional changes.
- Structured Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This therapy is done in a structured way and requires less time and sessions when compared to other therapies.
- Moral Reconation Therapy: this helps in reducing addictions and works by creating moral reasoning. This is the most used therapy in the United States.
- Stress Inoculation Therapy helps in reducing the stress of an individual and prepares him/her in advance for facing stressful situations that an individual may be likely to experience.
- Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This therapy uses techniques like meditation and breathing exercises as a remedy to cure anxiety. It is the modified version of CBT.
What can a person learn during a CBT course:
A person, through the help of CBT, can:
- Identify problems more clearly
- Develop awareness
- Challenge their inner strength
- Know the difference between facts and irrational thoughts
- Stop fearing
- View situations from changed and different perspectives
- Stop blaming themselves
- Adapt positive behaviour and thinking abilities
- Face their fears or criticisms
- Accept and understand themselves rather than judging their own self from others’ view.
- Become aware of their own moods and learn how to handle the mood swings
Books that help in relieving anxiety
- Social Phobia – National Institute of Mental Health, July 2016
- Overcoming Social Anxiety – Thomas A. Richard, PhD, Psychologist, Director Social Anxiety Institute, Inc.
- Painfully Shy – Barbara G Markway, PhD, and Gregory P Markway, PhD
- How to be Yourself – Ellen Hendriksen, PhD
FreePsychotherapyBooks.org: is a useful website providing free psychotherapy books for free.
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