Social Anxiety Counseling: Everything You Need to Know

social anxiety counseling

Social anxiety is a mental illness that currently affects 7% of the population. To make matters worse, 13% of the population will experience it at least once in their lives. While it’s unlikely to cure itself, social anxiety counseling can help relieve this health issue that’s currently ranked as the third largest in the world.

Social Anxiety Defined

Sometimes referred to as social phobia, social anxiety occurs when a person fears to interact with strangers. They may be able to communicate with friends and family, but when placed in situations with people they don’t know, those with social anxiety may experience extreme discomfort or nervousness. Depending on their level of fear of social situations, an affected person may reach the point where they require social anxiety counseling to live a healthy life.

What type of situation could make a social anxiety sufferer uncomfortable? Romantic dates and parties are common triggers. So are more formal situations such as business meetings or job interviews. Having to speak in front of others can be particularly troubling. Some, however, may feel triggered from something as simple as having to walk down a crowded street.

Social anxiety can be broken down into two categories. Generalized social anxiety can be described as the worst since it can cause a person to avoid social situations altogether. This is due to a fear of being judged by others negatively. Non-generalized social anxiety, on the other hand, is when a person only fears specific types of social situations. In this case, they may just worry about business meetings, while attending a party may cause no anxiety at all.

Does merely fearing a job interview or speaking in front of others mean you’re suffering from social anxiety? Not necessarily. Most people fear these situations due to the pressure and judgment involved. If such anxiety persists and becomes common though, social anxiety counseling may be needed.

The Causes And Risk Factors Of Social Anxiety

Social anxiety usually is not the result of one single factor. Instead, a combination of factors often come into play. Genetics can play a big part. If you have a family history of the problem, you will be more likely to suffer from it and need social anxiety counseling. The brain can offer clues as to the propensity to suffer from social anxiety. Sufferers tend to experience higher levels of activity in certain parts of the brain, such as the amygdala. An overactive amygdala can create a heightened fear response that makes anxiety commonplace.

Besides genetics, life experience also plays a significant role. Negativity is one of the biggest triggers of social anxiety in a person’s life. If they’ve experienced negativity often, they’ll be more likely to fear judgment from others. They’ll also be more likely to have feelings of inadequacy that will make them stray from people altogether, depending on the severity of their situation.

Negativity experienced during childhood is particularly compelling. If someone was judged continuously as a child and made to feel incompetent, they may see all social situations as possible triggers. By avoiding people, the person may feel shielded from any potential adverse outcomes. At this level, social anxiety counseling is a must to help them live socially healthy lives.

People with physical disfigurement can be at risk for social anxiety. Skin problems that draw unwanted attention, for example, can result in bullying or teasing that causes social avoidance. Other conditions, such as stuttering, can result in the same. In short, anything that causes someone to feel self-conscious can bring social anxiety to the surface.

Symptoms Of Social Anxiety

How can you tell if you need social anxiety counseling? Look for emotional symptoms such as fear or anxiety before appearing around other people. You may overanalyze interactions once they are done and wonder what went wrong. Regarding physical symptoms, rapid heartbeat, sweating, blushing, trembling, dizziness, or nausea may appear.

How To Treat Social Anxiety

Social anxiety counseling can help reduce the fear associated with human interactions. Cognitive behavioral therapy involves the development of strategies to overcome negative beliefs and associations with being around other people. While in treatment, a person with social anxiety should develop stronger social skills to help them improve conversations and be more assertive. Exposing them to social situations is frequently used so they can achieve these goals.

Although therapy is the most effective form of social anxiety counseling, some may prescribe medications to ease the issue. Antidepressants or other anti-anxiety prescriptions combined with therapy can be useful, even for those with severe symptoms.

The Benefits Of Social Anxiety Counseling

The most prominent benefit of social anxiety counseling is that it allows you to live a healthy life. Thanks to therapy, various complications can be overcome or prevented before they become extreme. In cases where social anxiety is at its worst, treatment can prevent suicide attempts and substance abuse. It can eliminate negative self-talk and boost low self-esteem. Social skills and relationships can improve as well. With the absence of these problems, you can finally take control of your life.

Boynton Beach Counseling Center
Gateway Counseling Center
1034 Gateway Blvd. #104
Boynton Beach, FL 33426
Phone: (561) 468-6464
Phone: (561) 678-0036

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