26 Jun Social Anxiety
Anxiety is a normal phenomenon in our day to day lives. Anxiety is often differentiated from fear, as fear is an apprehension in response to external danger while in anxiety the danger is largely unknown(or internal).Normal anxiety becomes pathological when it causes significant impairment in the functioning of an individual.
Social Anxiety, a type of anxiety spectrum disorder, includes irrational fear of activities related to social interaction and social life situations. People are afraid of their own actions being viewed by others critically, resulting in humiliation and thus anxiety from the related events. Although it is perfectly normal to feel self conscious occasionally, but when it gets into your way of indulging in ones normal routine, it is termed as social anxiety. People suffering from social anxiety disorder find it quite difficult to carry out simple day to day activities involving social interaction for example going out to eat in a restaurant, going shopping or even interacting with collogues or classmates at work. Social situations are essential trigger factors for anxiety and precipitate into physical and psychological symptoms.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- Physical Symptoms– A. Motor Symptoms- Tremors, Restlessness, Muscle Twitching.
- Autonomic Symptoms- Shortness of Breath Sweating, Flushing, Palpitations, Dry Mouth, Frequent Urination, Dizziness.
- Psychological Symptoms– A. Cognitive Symptoms- Poor concentration, distractibility, negative
- Effective Symptoms- Unpleasant feelings, Inability to relax, Irritability.
- Others- Insomnia, Increased sensitivity to noise.
Although the person is well aware of the irrationality behind the fears and well aware of the physical and psychological symptoms that follow, yet he/she is unable to do anything about it.
Although the exact cause of the anxiety disorder is not known clearly, however it could be explained by several theories-
- Psychodynamic Theory– According to this theory, anxiety is a result of disturbance in the internal psychological equilibrium and body reacts to its through one of its defence mechanisms leading to anxiety.
- Behavioral Theory– – According to this theory, anxiety is an response to a dangerous and painful stimuli.
- Biological Theory– A. Genetic evidence- Relations in first degree relatives and twins is known to have been found.
- Alterations in neurotransmitters- Alterations in the GABA- Benzodiazepine, Nor epinephrine receptors.
- Organic Anxiety Disorders- Associated with other medical disorders (hypothyroidism, Coronary Artery Disease)
Common social anxiety triggers include- Meeting new people, being watched while doing something, being teased or criticized, during exams, making phone calls, attending parties or social gatherings, speaking to authority figures, writing in public( signing a cheque) which may vary widely for different people.
HOW TO DEAL WITH IT?
- Identifying abnormalities in social behavior
- Coping up the courage to identify the problem and seek solution.
- Confide in a professional counselor/therapist and open up regarding the concerned problem and how it is hindering your social and occupational life.
- Do not shy away from the therapy sessions and establish a rapport with the counselor.
- Drug Therapy– Benzodiazepines and Antidepressants are currently in use, although there is not much evidence in support of drug therapy.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy– It focuses on changing the thinking and behavior pattern of the patient so that he/she can be equipped with skills to solve his/her own problems.
- Behavioral Therapy– It includes relaxation techniques and techniques such as
- Flooding– It involves replicating a scenario which causes social anxiety so that the client becomes acquainted with it and try to adapt with it.
- Systemic Desensitization– It includes providing exposure to the client to the triggering factors in a graded, step by step manner for the fear to ebb away.
- Group Therapy/Social Support Networks– Support from family, friends or groups suffering similar concerns can be helpful and productive. Sharing success stories, motivational anecdotes and inspiring clients can prove to be effective.
ONLINE COUNCELLING SESSIONS
Online counseling sessions are the most effective in case of people suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder as they save themselves the efforts and possible social encounters coming in the way of approaching the counselor altogether. It provides a convenient option of sharing, discussing and dealing ones problem. As it provides an instant solution, just one click away. Various experienced and authentic Counselors are available to interact and take care of your problems instantly. A detailed Bio-data of each counselor is provided so that you have the choice of on whose expertise to rely.
THERAPY SESSIONS AND OUTCOMES
- Each patient is unique and the problem solving strategy to deal with him/her is unique as per the requirement of the patient.
- Patient discloses his/her fears and in capabilities.
- Therapist tries to identify the triggering factor and comes up with possible solutions of dealing with them, discussing with the client
- Using the treatment techniques, an intervention is made and goals are set.
- Practice tasks and exercises are elaborated and demonstrated to the patient and he is as to replicate.
- Client is advised to indulge in sessions with full cooperation and should trust the councellor with confidentiality
- The client himself/herself starts to experience chances in his/her way of tackling with the problem.
- When successful in performing a task in a simulated setup the client is then asked to move to real life situations and then report to the counselor.
Through adequate guidance and support the client is able to lead a normal social life eventually free of fears and his productivity is hence increased.
- Ahuja, Niraj,(2011), “A Short Textbook Of Psycaitry”, Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers(P) Ltd, New Delhi.
- Early, M.B.(2017), “ Mental Health Concepts And Techniques for the Occupational Therapy Assistant”, Wolters Kluwer, Philadelphia.
- Therapy Tribe, find wellness, (30rd March 2019) By Ilene S. Cohen, https://www.therapytribe.com/therapy/anxiety-disorders-treatment-help/