Reviewed by Rashonda Douthit, LCSW
When a person experiences social anxiety, it may be hard for them to do certain jobs or work in some situations. This is because of the symptoms that they likely experience due to their social anxiety. Here is a look at what social anxiety is and what type of work you should look into if you experience social anxiety.
What Is Social Anxiety?
When a person experiences social anxiety, this means that they are generally not comfortable around other people. They may have a fear that people are always watching them and making assessments about what they do. They may also feel out of place and uncomfortable around others. They may feel symptoms that include thoughts in their head and physical symptoms, like sweating and blushing. This can be an obstacle when it comes to certain aspects of life, such as keeping a job, fostering relationships, and having a social life.
What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?
In some cases, a person might have social anxiety because they have social anxiety disorder. This disorder will cause someone to feel anxious in most situations when they are around others. They may even do everything they can to avoid many of these social situations. Furthermore, they might avoid doing certain things in front of others, like eating or talking. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, not only is this condition one of the most common anxiety disorders, but it is also unlikely to get better, unless the proper treatment is sought out for it. Otherwise, a person may go their entire lives avoiding certain situations, which can cause them to miss out on a lot.
SYMPTOMS OF SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER
Here are some of the most common symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder
- Inability to talk to people, especially strangers
- Avoidance of certain places where crowds will be
- Overly aware of yourself in front of others
- Stomachache around others
- Feeling like you are having an anxiety attack in social situations
- Feeling that people are talking about you
- Worrying about social gatherings for many days in advance
- Not being able to attend school or work regularly
If you feel like social anxiety has greatly impacted the way you live, you might want to take an anxiety test. This test can help you determine what to do about any anxiety you’re experiencing.
There are a number of potential causes of social anxiety or social anxiety disorder. However, if a person was exposed to bad situations when they were child, such as abuse or neglect, this may be a factor contributing to the likelihood of developing social anxiety disorder. In addition, there may be a brain connection. People who don’t have enough serotonin may also be affected by social anxiety disorder. This disorder can affect people of all ages.
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TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR SOCIAL ANXIETY
There are specific ways that are considered the best treatment options for this condition. One is psychotherapy. Through psychotherapy, there are a few different approaches a therapist may choose to utilize, depending on a patient’s symptoms and how long they have been affected by anxiety. PsychiatricTimes explains that sometimes even approaches such as teaching social skills may keep symptoms from getting worse.
Prescriptions are occasionally recommended for social anxiety. You can speak to your doctor about this, if it is something that you are interested in. They will be able to explain what medicines are effective and if they have side effects that you need to pay attention to.
As the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry suggests, in some cases, people with social anxiety and possibly social anxiety disorder don’t seek out the help they need until it has affected them for a number of years. However, even if you wait to get treatment, you can still be helped. Therapy is a viable option no matter how long you have been affected by a social anxiety disorder, although relapses can occur when treatment is not kept up with properly.
This means that there is a chance to see symptoms improve or disappear whenever you can find a treatment approach that works for you. You should do your best to keep up with treatment whenever you can, so you will have the best chance of seeing an improvement in your social anxiety and the symptoms you are experiencing.
GETTING A JOB WHEN YOU HAVE SOCIAL ANXIETY
Due to the nature of social anxiety, it can be difficult for people that experience it to have certain jobs, including jobs where they work with the public regularly or speak to large groups of people. For some, it is next to impossible to even go to a job interview or answer questions, which can make getting a job even more problematic. Luckily, there are jobs for social anxiety, and the people that have it. Here is a breakdown of some of the top jobs to consider when you have social anxiety.
- Working With Animals. It stands to reason that if you are doing your best to avoid working with humans, you may want to work with animals. People with social anxiety might consider working with animals, including having a grooming service, walking dogs, or even working at an animal shelter. Animals may be able to help you relax more than when you are around people, and you will be able to have a hands-on career. This is beneficial if you like working with your hands or if you really like animals.
- Working With Computers. Another sector for social anxiety jobs is in computer science. This includes being a computer programmer or someone that works on computers as well. For example, if you can perform IT tasks, this is a field to get into, where you won’t have to work with many people, and you can keep to yourself for much of the time, even if you are working in an office building.
- Working From Home. If you prefer social anxiety jobs from home, there are a few good ones to choose from. You may want to be a freelance writer or offer remote tech support. Many jobs can be performed remotely nowadays, so there may be one that you are well suited for.
- Gig Economy Jobs. Today, numerous jobs allow you to work with customers, where you don’t really have to see them. If you have reliable transportation, you might want to consider getting into a job that takes advantage of a gig economy. This is something like delivering food, packages, or groceries. In many instances, you just have to drop off the deliveries at people’s doors, and you don’t have to see them or interact with them.
- Helping Others. In some cases, people who have social anxiety and have been helped through therapy will decide to be counselors for themselves. This can be beneficial. After all, you will understand your patients on a personal level because you received treatment yourself.
These are just a few examples, but at least hundreds of jobs are beneficial for someone with social anxiety to try their hand at. If you have a skill and that skill can be marketed, you may be able to turn it into a job. For example, if you have an idea or product that you want to patent, this can catapult you into owning your own business. This is something that will work well for someone with social anxiety, since they will be the boss, and will be able to contract others to help with the tasks that make them uncomfortable.
On the other hand, if you want to work with your hands, you can do jobs without working in a large group. If you want to be something like a landscaper or work at a plant nursery, these jobs can be relaxing and allow you to work with nature without dealing with big crowds or large groups. Consider your options and do research to see what jobs you think will work well for you. There are many options out there to choose from, and you can always talk to your therapist about this subject, so they will be able to offer you more insight.
Besides just getting treatment for social anxiety, so you will be able to work through your symptoms, you may also consider a support group for people with social anxiety. While it is a group that may make you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious, the group will be made up of people who experience similar challenges. This group could offer some insight into how they get through their days and how they make a living, so you can get some ideas from them. Think about your options for working and getting the proper treatment and making a decision that works best for you.