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Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder

For many people social events and gatherings can be stressful and they will do anything they can to avoid them or need someone or something to give them confidence. People who experience social anxiety may employ avoidance behaviours that go beyond cancelling the occasional social invite and may get to the point where they isolate themselves and as a result feel increasing anxiety and low mood.

Learning to be socially confidence can be challenging and difficult, especially if you have let it influence your life choices to a great extent. At Schoen Clinic we will help you build your self-esteem, reduce your self-consciousness and increase your ability to socialise with others.

Shy = socially anxious?

Shyness is perceived as a characteristic that describes some people who may be more introverted than others, or soft spoken, a little less conversational. It isn’t an illness and it is not an indicator necessary that someone has social anxiety. It is perhaps someone being more cautious about speaking until they get to know someone or others or that they prefer to listen first before speaking. Many people who have social anxiety may have these characteristics but their complete avoidance of situations and isolation are indicators of the condition.

Social anxiety disorder defines an overwhelming, long-lasting fear triggered by social situations. It is also sometimes known as social phobia. Many people worry about social situations but having social anxiety disorder results in you feeling exceedingly worried before, during and after the event, disproportionate to the level of worry necessary for the situation. Social anxiety often occurs at a very early stage – mostly as early as puberty. Symptoms of social anxiety disorder are grouped into two types: physical and psychological.

Signs of social anxiety: physical symptoms

  • Upset stomach or nausea
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Heart palpitations
  • Blushing
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Tense or achy muscles
  • Panic Attacks

Signs of social anxiety: behavioural & psychological symptoms

  • A feeling of dread in relation to everyday activities (e.g. meeting strangers or speaking on the phone)
  • Avoidance of social activities or interactions
  • Fear of embarrassment
  • Fear of criticism or judgement
  • Finding it difficult to do activities if others are watching
  • Lack of clarity in thoughts
  • Often feeling like you are being watched and judged
  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Low self-esteem
  • Emotional hypersensitivity, particularly to judgement or criticism
  • Alcohol consumption prior to social interaction
  • Stammer
  • Highly critical of self

Causes & risk factors of social anxiety disorder

As with other mental health conditions, social anxiety disorder is likely to be caused by several biological, psychological and environmental factors and an interaction between these. Risk factors for development of social anxiety disorder include:

  • Genetic vulnerability: sometimes illustrated in family history of social anxiety, or other mental health disorders
  • Structural abnormalities in the brain associated with the fear response. Over-activation may lead to a heightened fear response, causing increased anxiety in social situations
  • Issues in brain processes involved in reading others’ behaviour
  • Experience of parents who are either anxious themselves in social situations or are controlling or overprotective
  • Underdeveloped social skills
  • Shy, timid or withdrawn temperament
  • Experience of an unpleasant or embarrassing social situation, including rejection
  • Experience of trauma, including abuse and bullying
  • New social or occupational demands
  • An appearance or condition that is likely to draw attention (e.g. facial disfigurement or tremors)
  • Experience of bullying
  • Experience of conflict

Treatment at Schoen Clinic Centre for Mental Health Chelsea

Help is available for the above condition at Schoen Clinic Chelsea. To find out more, please do get in touch:

Tel:  +44 20 4571 3259

Email: CHE-enquiries@schoen-clinic.co.uk

Or use our online form: