The fear of ridicule is something that we all have experienced, even the 'butterflies in the stomach' feeling when we are placed in the spotlight or in other social situations. But we get by and through and get on with our daily tasks with confidence. But there are those who can't or simply allow the situation to take over every social realm of their life.
People who suffer from the concept of being critically evaluated constantly, and have excessive fear of social interactions, are said to suffer from social anxiety, also known as social phobia. They have a high level of self-consciousness, and get perturbed in public places and forums.
They live with the false and very unreasonable belief that everyone is watching, staring, and judging them, which leads to constant panic attacks. This kind of social anxiety becomes a cause of worry when it begins to disrupt daily routine and activities, and has a very negative bearing on relationships―personal and professional.
What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety disorder is not an actual disease, hence, it has no said cure. It is the third-largest psychological problem in the United States today, affecting more than 15 million Americans each year. Being a psychological disorder, it has no set medical diagnostic test to determine its cause, nor does it have a 'quick-fix' treatment that would fit all.
It is for the family, along with the psychologist and the health worker to work out a diagnosis and determine the course of treatment. A combination of medication and cognitive therapies are practiced to help people overcome this disorder and its related symptoms.
How Can We Deal With it?
One of the best ways to overcome social anxiety is to first seek help and then analyze what triggers it. But the individual, child or adult who suffers from it must be treated with dignity throughout the course of treatment, for treatment goes beyond a few days of therapy.
Cognitive behavior therapy is widely used to treat social anxiety. It is based on the premise that to change one's perception, belief needs to be changed or worked upon in a positive manner, as people who are in fear of being ridiculed by others mostly have a negative perception about themselves, and this is exactly what therapy aims to change.
Medical treatment includes prescribing depression medications, beta blockers, and antianxiety drugs. Here are a few tips to get over this problem:
- Be a part of the group that have the same likes and dislikes as you.
- Spend more time with people who will encourage your participation.
- Sporting activities are a great way to build confidence, so get involved in some or the other sport activities.
- Take a few public speaking courses.
- Try out a few natural remedies to deal with anxiety.
- Most importantly, stop being around people who are negative or foster negativity around you. Always remember that you are the best and you are special.
There are no fixed techniques to deal with this problem. Treating social anxiety in children is different from treating the disorder in adults, as it can be more grave. But they all work on the same belief that more than medications, it is the power of mind that will help overcome this disorder.
If you or anyone in your family suffers from this disorder, consult a psychologist to seek a quick and complete recovery.