What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting nearly 15 million adults in the US alone.
This condition is characterized by an intense fear of social situations, which generates feelings of emotional and physical discomfort. People who experience this nervousness from social situations are often afraid of being embarrassed or worried that others are criticizing and judging.
Can A Social Anxiety Test Help You?
Those with SAD often resort to withdrawing from social situations and isolating themselves from others in an attempt to escape the feelings of frustration, shame, and guilt that they might experience when interacting with other people.
But feeling shy and uncomfortable in certain situations isn’t necessarily a sign of anxiety. The level of discomfort that we experience in different social contexts varies depending on a number of things, including individual traits and life experiences. A social anxiety test will help you understand how your interactions in social situations may be causing you to feel excessively stressed or worried.
Help Is Available For Social Anxiety
Living with social anxiety can affect your work, family, friendships, and many other aspects of your life. When social situations bring about excessive fear and feelings of embarrassment or worry that may disrupt your life and lead to avoidance behaviors, the sooner you can identify and alleviate those symptoms, the better. Taking a social anxiety test is a great first step.
What Are The Signs Of SAD?
Most of the symptoms that characterize this condition arise from a fear of humiliation and criticism. This often brings about emotions such as fear, shame, and/or guilt. Social anxiety disorder can manifest itself in a number of different ways, so those who live with it may experience some symptoms and not others, depending on the severity and their specific circumstances.
Some of the most common signs of social anxiety include:
Excessive sweating and shaking
Headaches and migraines
State of confusion
Tendency to avoid eye contact
Blushing of face
Feelings of shame
Lack of focus
Fear of situations in which you may be analyzed or evaluated, common in all anxiety disorders
Fear of being around people you don’t know
Fear of criticism, ridicule, and social humiliation
Desire to escape a given situation (avoidance behaviors)
Negative thoughts (e.g., I don’t know what to say; They’re going to make fun of me)
If left unchecked, anxiety from social situations can lead to more severe conditions like depression and panic disorder. This is why taking an assessment like the social anxiety test above can aid in bringing to light signs and symptoms of anxiety. If this social anxiety test can help identify a social phobia, it opens the door for treatment and support that may help a person with anxiety find positive ways to manage the disorder. Take our social anxiety test to see how much these symptoms are affecting you.
How Is Social Anxiety Disorder Treated?
The two primary treatment options for social anxiety disorder are psychotherapy and medication. If the final results of this online quiz advise taking further action to address the needs of your symptoms, or you decide to pursue treatment for any other reason, the following are some options available to you after an assessment by a licensed professional:
Since anxiety stemming from social situations can be a debilitating condition, medical professionals often recommend pharmacological treatments to stabilize the individual’s overall mood and make way for other therapeutic interventions.
To reduce the risk of side effects, your doctor may begin the treatment with a low dose of the medication and then gradually increase to a higher dose. This process and assessment can take from several weeks to several months, but it tests how you react to the medication.
The information found in the article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers before starting on any medication.
Psychotherapy focuses primarily on alleviating the symptoms of anxiety, whether that be anxiety caused by social situations or anxiety from other sources. In therapy, clients learn how to recognize and change negative thinking patterns and develop the skills they need to handle social situations that may be causing them to experience anxiety.
One of the most popular therapeutic approaches for anxiety of any type is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This approach provides clients with a robust repertoire of techniques that enables them to cope with the situations in which they usually experience anxiety. It does so by helping the individual understand and reframe the thoughts that may be leading to feelings of nervousness or discomfort in social situations.
But the most frequently used therapeutic strategy for social phobia is exposure therapy. This type of therapy usually involves gradual exposure to anxiety-producing stimuli. It’s important to note that a successful therapist will not recommend any treatments that make you feel uncomfortable. The client sets the pace for exposure therapy.
There are many treatment options available, as mentioned in this article, but there are also steps you can take at home to alleviate any stress during social interactions and other trying situations.
One great tool to take home with you is the idea of grounding. This can help make you aware of the space that surrounds you in a stressful situation and bring you back to a peaceful reality by engaging your senses. One such method is called the 5-4-3-2-1 coping technique. This technique asks you to identify 5 items or objects that you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. Ideally, this will help slow down your mind in a stressful social situation and make you feel more at ease.
Given that shortness of breath is a common symptom of social anxiety, learning to control your breathing is a great way of managing the stress that may accompany social interactions. Practicing deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness can go a long way toward lessening the physical and emotional discomfort associated with SAD. If you’re feeling nervous about a meeting, first date, or presentation, consider trying belly breathing exercises, which can be done from anywhere, before the event.
Mental health is just as important as your physical health, and if you are experiencing challenges in certain social situations that are impacting your mental health, it may be time to get help. Regardless of the results of the social anxiety test, or the type of treatment that works best for you, anxiety is treatable, and many people find ways to cope with it. This assessment and any other social anxiety test will provide an understanding of symptoms; however, a licensed mental health professional can more thoroughly test and diagnose SAD and will be able to identify the correct treatment path for you.
With the help of a licensed therapist or counselor, you can empower yourself with techniques to calm your mind and body in potentially difficult social situations. Online therapy is an excellent option for those who may not yet be comfortable with face-to-face, in-person interactions. The qualified therapists at BetterHelp can give you the tools to manage social anxiety disorder and become more comfortable and confident.
If you are in crisis or want to learn more about mental health, do not hesitate to call the hotlines below:
Mental health is just as important as your physical health, and if you are experiencing challenges in certain social situations that is impacting your mental health, it is time to get help. There are many treatment options available, as mentioned in this article, but there are also steps you can take at home to alleviate any stress in social situations and other triggering situations.
With the help of a licensed therapist or counselor, you can empower yourself with techniques to calm your mind and body in triggering situations.