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Social Anxiety Disorder – What It Is & How To Treat It
What is social anxiety disorder?
Social anxiety or social phobia is a type of anxiety disorder that produces an extreme fear response in social situations or even when thinking about them. This can be anything from just leaving the house, going shopping, speaking on the phone, interacting with other people or engaging with groups.
How common is social phobia?
Social phobia has always been quite a common problem. It usually starts during adolescence and often does not go away without treatment.
But recently, with the outbreak of Covid 19, it has become a huge issue for many people who have not previously suffered. Read more about Covid’s impact on social anxiety here.
Social anxiety disorder symptoms
Symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of general anxiety disorder except that the triggers are social in nature. Symptoms include:
- Worry about everyday social activities
- Avoiding social activities or situations
- Worrying about embarrassment and blushing
- Feeling like you’re being watched and judged all the time
- Fearing criticism
- Panic attacks
- Low self-esteem and low self confidence
- Physical anxiety symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, feeling sick, trembling
- An overriding fear of dread, fear of panic in situations that wouldn’t typically merit it
Many people find that their social phobia is actually linked to another fear or phobia, low self-confidence, past traumatic events, a fear of authority or other complex issues. Discovering the root cause or underlying issue is important in finding relief.
Do I need help for my social anxiety?
If this is significantly affecting your life it might be time to seek help for social anxiety disorder. Finding treatment isn’t always easy, but they can drastically improve your life.
Self-help treatment options
There are a few things you can do to start to try and unravel your anxiety issues. Try and understand the triggers for your social phobia. When did it start? What do you think is behind it? Perhaps keep a record of each day and the struggles you have.
You can try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, exercise and yoga to see if these can settle the symptoms.
You can also try a gradual desensitisation and challenge yourself to overcome small challenges each day. Try and address any negative behaviour patterns or unhelpful assumptions you are making. Don’t catastrophize or always assume the worst.
Social phobia treatments
Some of the above advice is easier said than done and can be much more easily achieved with the help of a professional therapist.
Common treatments you might be offered for social anxiety include guided self-help, group therapy or medications.
Medication treatment options
Most of my clients come to me because they want to avoid drug treatments or they want another treatment alongside, that addresses the root causes of the anxiety.
Medication can have many side effects and sometimes only addresses the symptoms rather than the cause. You can become reliant on medication to relieve symptoms whilst gaining no real long-term relief.
Social anxiety disorder hypnotherapy
So what’s the answer? I believe that hypnotherapy for social anxiety provides real, safe and effective change. The results are quick and long-lasting. Often in just three sessions I can help my clients find relief from social anxiety. No more being afraid to leave the house or engage with people. A new world of possibilities is opened up.
Next steps for social phobia treatment
If you feel like you would benefit from treatment for social anxiety please do get in touch. I offer my clients a free 15 minute consultation so you can learn more about how I can help you.
If you’d like to read more about how hypnotherapy works please click here.
I can offer my services in person from my central London hypnotherapy clinic or via online hypnotherapy sessions. Both are effective for anxiety, so it just depends which suits you best.
Please do contact me for more information or to book your first session.
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