Social anxiety threatens people’s sense of self, whether it be their concept of how they see themselves in the world or how they perceive the world around them. It can be classified as social phobia, listened in the DSM for mental health professionals. A person must have ongoing fears of one or more social situations that involve exposure to people they don’t know or possible social judgment. Their anxiety always arises in response to social scenarios, is either avoided with intense distress or avoids situations due to significant functional impairment. Find out what the symptoms of social anxiety disorder are and how to support a loved one who wants to be free of anxiety in social settings.
Types of Social Anxiety
When looking at the various ways people can experience social anxiety, they may experience is manifested in the following conditions:
- Generalized Social Anxiety: a most severe form of the disorder, involving all-encompassing fear of social situations. People are more likely to be single, have social fears and be diagnosed with depression and alcohol use disorders
- Performance Only Social Anxiety: arises where people are performing in public. This results in fear of public speaking or engaging in situations where they have to be in front of people
Social Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
Social anxiety symptoms include lots of things including emotions, the physical body, and cognition. Anxious thoughts may trigger physical changes, while bodily changes can cause people to have anxious thoughts arise. A clinician may diagnose SAD when these symptoms arise. Some of the following are symptoms that may arise with SAD:
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Sleep disturbances
- Excessive rumination or worry
- Difficulty concentrating outside of what is causing anxiety
- Negative self-talk for being judged or rejected
Social Anxiety Disorder Support
Substance abuse disorder can cause anxiety symptoms to rise up. Stimulants, like caffeine and nicotine, activate the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for fight-or-flight responses. Anxiety motivates people toward action. People may experience lingering anxiety after stimulant use. Marijuana can trigger paranoia and anxiety, like hallucinogens. Alcohol, opiates, and sedatives can have the effect of reducing anxiety. Long-term use of these substances means the brain produces fewer neurochemicals that install calm, increasing anxiety. The goal of treating someone with anxiety is to seek help for any co-occurring disorders. Treatment should provide from serious side effects and symptoms, while also including long-range planning for substance use disorders and social anxiety. There is help available, with the support of loved ones and a treatment center that cares enough to develop an individual plan and create space for healing. The key is to find the right treatment for an individual’s situation and get them help.
A Step in the Right Direction provides quality care for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. We help treat anxiety, depression, and other co-occurring disorders along with addiction. Our goal is to provide you with an individual plan for healing from addiction. For more information on sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702