Social anxiety

Social anxiety involves an intense fear of social interactions, usually due to worries about being judged negatively. These symptoms can often lead to isolation. People who experience these problems may have issues with low self-esteem. They may feel that they are somehow 'not good enough' or come across as 'stupid' or 'ulikeable'. As a result, individuals can experience physical symptoms such as blushing and stammering. The types of situations that trigger these symptoms can be different for different people. For example: some people may be happy talking to strangers but struggle with talking in groups. Others may experience this the opposite way around. Social anxiety is a debilitating problem that can impact negatively on maintaining relationships, work and a social life.

Sad woman during group therapy, indoors.

Common symptoms

Social anxiety is one of the most common types of anxiety problems. However, it can effect some people much more seriously than others. Below are a list of common symptoms associated with the problem:

  • Persistent worries that you will look 'stupid' or come across as a 'fool' during social interactions.

  • Beliefs that other people are watching you closely and judging you negatively.

  • A preoccupation with a physical symptom during social interactions, including blushing, stammering, freezing or shaking.

  • ​Mentally reviewing past social interactions and 'beating yourself' up for behaviours and/or symptoms you displayed.

  • Avoidance of social situations due to an intense fear or anxiety.

Treatment for social anxiety

The evidence-base (research and results from clinical trials) recommend a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of social anxiety. This will involve first identifying the beliefs and behaviours that maintain your social fears, and secondly learning techniques to challenge these symptoms. 

For most, a course of between fourteen to sixteen therapy hours, will be enough for people to feel that they can overcome their problems. However, some may need a more intensive and prolonged treatment, depending on the severity of their symptoms.

At NOSA we will take time to asses your individual needs and work in collaboration with you to recommend a treatment package that best meets your goals.

Helpful resources

https://web.ntw.nhs.uk/selfhelp/leaflets/Health%20Anxiety.pdf

Helpful leaflet explaining more about the specific symptoms of social anxiety, including some self help techniques. 

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