9 Things to Know When Talking to Someone With Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder Symptoms & Treatments — Social Phobia

9 Things to Know When Talking to Someone With Social Anxiety Disorder

We all know what it feels to clam up at a party where you don't know anybody, or get a little shaky before walking into a job interview.

And maybe there are times where the thought of having to interact with all the parents at your kid's Saturday morning soccer game makes you want to crawl back into bed.

These situations happen—but chances are, you're able to pull yourself through them and move on.

But what if you can't?

For people with social anxiety disorder (SAD), the stress making smalltalk, maintaining eye contact, or ordering food at a restaurant is crippling. It can make going to school or work difficult, and have a major impact on day-to-day life.

What is social anxiety disorder—and how's it different from shyness?

SAD might sound it's just shyness to the extreme. But SAD—also called social phobia—is a real mental health condition that affects about 7 percent of American adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

“It’s a persistent fear that one will behave in a way that’s embarrassing or humiliating,” explains Adam Gonzalez, PhD, founding director of the Mind Body Clinical Research Center at Stony Brook Medicine.

It can be debilitating, to the point where a person might get panic attacks in situations that make them anxious—if they don't just avoid those situations altogether.

Shyness or introversion, on the other hand, is just a personality trait where a person might feel awkward or apprehensive in certain social situations. Almost all of us have it to some degree.

Typically, introverted folks prefer interacting with just a few people at once instead of socializing in big groups. But that's a preference, not a fear, emphasizes Ramani Durvasula, PhD, professor of psychology at California State University, Los Angeles.

“They might not necessarily enjoy bigger crowds, but they aren’t anxious,” she says.

Take public speaking, for example. A shy person might be a little nervous before talking in front of a big group. But they’d still go through with it and maybe even start to get more comfortable after a minute or two.

But someone with social anxiety disorder might worry about it intensely for days or weeks, says Durvasula. They might feel scared about being judged, looking stupid or boring, or being outright disd.

The fear could become so debilitating that the person might opt out altogether.

Being shy doesn’t automatically mean you’re plagued by social anxiety. In fact, some findings suggest that only around 12 percent of people who describe themselves as shy actually meet the criteria for SAD. “People can experience shyness without having anxiety, distress, or fear about being shy,” Gonzalez says.

It’s more common for people with social anxiety disorder to also consider themselves shy. But that’s not always the case. “People with social anxiety disorder can be outgoing and talkative,” explains Misti Nicholson, PsyD, Director of Austin Anxiety & OCD Specialists.

In both cases, it’s not just about how a person acts on the outside when they’re around other people. How they feel on the inside during those interactions is just as important.

Signs you might have social anxiety disorder

While a mental health professional is the only person who can give you an official social anxiety disorder diagnosis, thinking about how you react in certain social settings can help you start understanding your feelings. If you answer yes to the following questions, and have been feeling this way for at least six months and these feelings make it difficult to complete everyday tasks, it's time to talk to your doctor about SAD.

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A person with SAD might actually skip going to a party where they won’t know anyone or stop talking at meetings because they’re scared of looking stupid.

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When you have SAD, you may agonize over the smallest social situations, using a public restroom, eating in front of others, or talking to a cashier at the grocery store.

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SAD often comes with intense physical symptoms. Sure, from time to time we’ve all felt our faces get a little red when we’re interacting with someone intimidating. But for someone with SAD, social situations regularly come with sweating, heart palpitations, nausea, and even trembling.

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People who have SAD have an intense fear of being humiliated, judged, and rejected, which makes giving a presentation, playing a musical instrument on stage, or playing in a sports game impossible.

How to treat social anxiety disorder

Getting over shyness might just be a matter of putting yourself out there more often, Nicholson says. That could mean asking a bunch of friends to join you for happy hour instead of meeting just one other person.

Want to take things to the next level? Try signing up for an improv acting class, recommends Nicholson.

“It’s a great way for people to practice stepping outside of their comfort zone in a safe, supportive environment,” she says.

If you suspect that you might have social anxiety disorder, talk to your doctor about the best course of treatment for you. Treatment usually consists of talk therapy, support groups, or medication (usually antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, beta blockers, or a combination of drugs).

By understanding how you think about situations that make you anxious, you can learn how to challenge those thoughts and adopt more realistic ones, Gonzalez says. Eventually, you might work up to exposing yourself to nerve-racking situations, which can show you that your fears are less ly to happen than you might think.

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Источник: https://www.prevention.com/health/mental-health/a20963966/social-anxiety-disorder/

Social anxiety in children

9 Things to Know When Talking to Someone With Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety typically affects older children and teenagers.

Children with social anxiety usually:

  • have difficulty meeting other children or joining in groups
  • have a limited number of friends
  • avoid social situations where they might be the focus of attention or stand out from others – for example, asking or answering questions in class
  • seem withdrawn or reserved in group situations.

Social anxiety can have some physical signs too, including nausea, stomach aches, blushing and trembling.

It’s easy not to notice social anxiety. This is because children who have social anxiety are often quiet and obedient in preschool or school. They might not talk about their fears or worries.

Helping children with social anxiety

If your child is suffering from social anxiety, they’ll need your support. There are many things you can do when you’re:

  • at home with your child
  • at preschool or school with your child or in other social situations
  • talking with your child about their anxious feelings.

At home

  • Prepare your child for situations that make them feel worried or fearful. Act out the situation at home and practise things they can do to make it easier.
  • Encourage your child to do some ‘detective thinking’. For example, your child might think that everyone will laugh at them if they answer a question in class. You could ask your child, ‘How do you know they’ll laugh?’
  • Tell your child about times you’ve felt anxious in social situations and how you’ve faced your fears. This will help your child understand that it’s OK to talk about anxious feelings. They’ll also feel that you understand and support them.

At preschool or school or in other social situations

  • Gently encourage your child to join in social situations, do things in front of other people, and start new activities. Avoiding social situations can make the issue worse.
  • If your child has an anxious reaction to a situation, don’t worry. Try the situation again another time with more preparation. Don’t force your child, or punish or scold them for ‘failing’.
  • Avoid speaking for your child. This can make the issue worse.
  • Tell your child’s preschool, kindergarten or school about your child’s anxiety. Also let them know what you’re doing to help your child. This way, other people can give your child consistent support.

When talking with your child

  • If your child does something that normally makes them anxious – for example, talking on the phone – acknowledge their bravery with plenty of praise. Tell your child that you’re proud they’re trying their best. If other people are around, praise your child quietly and make a big deal when you’re alone. This helps to foster your child’s self-esteem.
  • No matter how frustrated you feel, avoid criticising your child or being negative about their difficulty in social situations.
  • Avoid labelling your child as ‘shy’. If other people comment on your child’s behaviour in social situations, you could say something ‘Actually, Kai’s quite outgoing around people he knows well’.

Using the stepladder approach to help with social anxiety

The stepladder approach is a gentle behaviour technique that you can use to help children with anxiety, including social anxiety. It involves starting small and tackling little things before you face the really scary things.

For example, if your child has trouble talking to new people, they could start by saying ‘goodbye’ to a friend they’ve met a few times, building up to saying ‘hello’ to someone they’ve just met, and eventually having conversations with other children at school.

Professional help for social anxiety in children

If you’re worried about your child’s anxiety and feel that it’s affecting their enjoyment of life, consider seeking professional help. Here are some places to start:

  • your child’s teacher at preschool or school, or a school counsellor
  • your child’s GP or paediatrician, who can refer you to an appropriate mental health practitioner
  • your local children’s health or community health centre
  • a specialist anxiety clinic (present in most states)
  • your local mental health service.

If your child is aged 5 years or older, they can talk with a Kids Helpline counsellor by calling 1800 551 800, or using the Kids Helpline email counselling service or the Kids Helpline web counselling service.

Financial support for children with social anxiety

Your child might be able to get Medicare rebates for up to 20 mental health service sessions from psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists each calendar year.

To get these rebates, your child will need a mental health care plan from a GP (this covers the services your child needs and the goals of the treatment), or a referral from a psychiatrist or paediatrician.

Social anxiety disorder

Some children and teenagers develop social anxiety disorder. This is when a child’s social anxiety has gone on for more than 6 months and significantly affects the child’s life.

Children with social anxiety disorder might avoid many situations that mean they have to interact with other people. These situations include talking on the phone, joining teams or clubs, and answering questions in class. If you feel your child might have social anxiety disorder, it’s a good idea to seek professional help.

Social anxiety disorder can be diagnosed in children as young as 4 years.

Shyness or social anxiety?

Shy behaviour is normal in children. And some children are naturally shy. This means they’re slow to warm up or uncomfortable in social situations.

But extreme shyness can interfere with a child’s everyday activities, and this can be a sign of social anxiety disorder. If this sounds your child, it’s a good idea to see a professional your GP or paediatrician or a psychologist.

Источник: https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/health-daily-care/mental-health/social-anxiety

Social Anxiety Disorder Guide: Test, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

9 Things to Know When Talking to Someone With Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder, also known as social phobia, is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by excessive fear, anxiety, discomfort, and self-consciousness in social settings.

While it is normal for people to feel anxious in some social settings, individuals with social anxiety disorder (social phobia) have a heightened fear of interaction with others in a variety of social interactions and worry they will be scrutinized by others.

This intense anxiety causes impairment in functioning and interferes significantly with the individual’s life and relationships.

People with social anxiety typically know that their anxiety is irrational, is not fact, and does not make rational sense. Nevertheless, thoughts and feelings of anxiety persist and are chronic in nature.

Common Triggers

People with social anxiety commonly experience significant worry and distress in the following situations:

  • Eating in front of other people
  • Speaking in public
  • Being the center of attention
  • Talking to strangers
  • Going on dates
  • Meeting new people
  • Interviewing for a new job
  • Going to work or school
  • Meeting other people’s eyes
  • Making phone calls in public
  • Using public restrooms

Symptoms

An individual may experience physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms of social anxiety disorder. These symptoms can significantly affect the individual’s daily life and relationships.

Physical Symptoms

  • Rapid heat-beat
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle tension or twitches
  • Stomach trouble
  • Blushing
  • Trembling
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dry throat and mouth

Emotional Symptoms

  • High levels of anxiety and fear
  • Nervousness
  • Panic attacks
  • Negative emotional cycles
  • Dysmorphia concerning part of their body (most commonly the face)

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Avoiding situations where the individual thinks they may be the center of attention
  • Refraining from certain activities because of a fear of embarrassment
  • Becoming isolated; the individual may quit their job or drop school
  • Excessive drinking or substance abuse

DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria1

Your healthcare provider will diagnose social anxiety disorder from a description of your symptoms and behavioral patterns. During your appointment, you will be asked to explain what symptoms you are having and discuss situations in which these symptoms present themselves. The diagnostic criteria for social anxiety disorder, as outlined in the DSM-5, includes:

  • Marked fear or anxiety about one or more social situations in which the individual is exposed to possible scrutiny by others lasting for 6 months or more.
  • Fear of acting in a way that will reveal anxiety symptoms that will be negatively evaluated by others. In children, the anxiety must occur when the child is among peers and not just adults.
  • The social situations almost always cause fear and anxiety.
  • The social situations are avoided or endured with intense fear.
  • The fear or anxiety is proportion to the actual threat posed by the situation.

Statistics

  • Social anxiety disorder affects approximately 15 million American adults.2
  • According to the US National Comorbidity Survey, social anxiety has a 12-month prevalence rate of 6.8%, placing it as the third most common mental disorder in the United States. 3
  • Statistically, social anxiety disorder is more common in women than in men.

    4

  • Despite the availability of effective treatments, fewer than 5% of people of with social anxiety disorder seek treatment in the year following initial onset. 5
  • More than a third of people report symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help.

    6

  • One study found that 85% of participants were able to significantly improve or recover using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy alone.7

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of social anxiety disorder (social phobia) is unknown. However, current research suggests it may be caused by a combination of environmental factors and genetics. While there is no causal relationship between childhood maltreatment or other early-onset psychological adversity and the development of social anxiety disorder, they can be considered risk factors.

Individuals prone to behavioral inhibition (the tendency to experience distress and withdraw from unfamiliar situations, people, or environments) and fear of judgement are also predisposed to social anxiety disorder. Genetics may also play a role in the development of social anxiety as these behavioral traits are strongly genetically influenced.

What’s more, social anxiety disorder is a heritable condition—first-degree relatives have a two to six times greater chance of having social anxiety disorder.8

Article continues below

Treatment Options

Social anxiety disorder is a fully treatable condition that can be overcome with effective therapy, commitment, and patience. We recommend locating a specialist in your area to find a treatment pathway that works best for you.  Some treatment options your doctor may suggest include:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

A huge body of research has shown cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to be a markedly successful treatment for those suffering with social anxiety disorder (social phobia).

The American Psychological Association defines cognitive-behavioral therapy as “a system of treatment involving a focus on thinking and its influence on both behavior and feelings.

” CBT emphasizes the role of unhelpful beliefs and their influence on emotional and behavioral outcomes.

Social-anxiety-specific CBT focuses on changing the individual’s thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and behavior as they relate to social situations.

“If the individual feels anxious about doing certain things and feels less anxious when they choose not to do them, this becomes a cycle whereby the individual learns that staying social situations keeps them emotionally regulated,” says Kelly Freeman, LCSW. “CBT challenges individuals to replace these thoughts.”

The cognitive part of the therapy refers to thinking and is the part of therapy that can be “taught” to the person. The act of practicing new thoughts through repetition when the individual notices unhelpful thoughts allows new patterns of thinking to become automatic.

For instance, an individual might work to replace the anxiety-inducing thought of “everyone will stare at me if I go to the party” with “these feelings I am having right now aren’t rational. When the party is over, I’ll be glad that I went” in order to change the cycle.

The behavioral component of CBT involves attending group therapy with others diagnosed with social anxiety disorder.

In the behavioral group, everyone participates in activities that are mildly anxiety-inducing to build confidence and a more rational perception in the person’s mind of what happens when they engage in these kinds of social activities. As a result, the anxiety felt in social situations is gradually reduced.9

People with social anxiety disorder might also try various relaxation methods to relieve the symptoms of anxiety. Examples of techniques that have been shown to be helpful include: massage, meditation, mindfulness, hypnotherapy, and acupuncture.

However, these methods do not help people fully recover from social anxiety.

Only CBT can help those struggling make permanent progress against social anxiety by changing irrational thinking into rational thinking, and helping to induce habitual and appropriate behavioral responses.

Medication

Medication is a useful form of treatment for many, but not all, people with social anxiety disorder (social phobia).

Research suggests that the use of anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, and certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used in conjunction with CBT have been most beneficial.

Only CBT can permanently change the neural pathway associations in the brain and therefore medication alone has no long-term benefits for people with social anxiety.

  1. American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, American Psychiatric Publishing, Washington, D.C., 2013: Pages 197-203.
  2. ADAA. Social Anxiety Disorder. Available at: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder. Accessed February 13, 2018.
  3. Kessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Walters EE. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 Jun;62(6):617-27.
  4. Ibid.
  5. ADAA. Social Anxiety Disorder. Available at: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder. Accessed February 13, 2018.
  6. ADAA. Social Anxiety Disorder. Available at: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder. Accessed February 13, 2018.
  7. PsychCentral. Study Finds CBT Alone Best Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder. Available at: https://psychcentral.com/news/2016/12/17/study-finds-cbt-alone-best-treatment-for-social-anxiety-disorder/113996.html. Accessed February 13th, 2018.
  8. American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, American Psychiatric Publishing, Washington, D.C., 2013: Pages 197-203. Accessed February 13th, 2018.
  9. Social Anxiety Institute. Comprehensive Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy For Social Anxiety Disorder. Available at: https://socialanxietyinstitute.org/comprehensive-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-social-anxiety-disorder. Accessed February 13th, 2018.

Источник: https://www.psycom.net/social-anxiety-disorder-overview

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