About Social Anxiety
If you have Social Anxiety Disorder, you’re not alone. About 11% of Australians experience social anxiety during their lifetime, and 7% approximately experience social anxiety in any 12 months .
A person with social phobia can fear or avoid situations, including social gatherings, public speaking, starting or having a conversation, voicing opinions, meeting someone new or dating, among others.
Public speaking is often high on the list of examples of social anxiety. This is unsurprising as standing in front of a group of people and speaking is one of the situations where people feel most vulnerable and exposed. The main worry you may have is that you may look and sound foolish when you are doing just fine on most occasions.
People who need to speak in public regularly usually become accustomed to it and develop a range of skills and behaviours that help them overcome their “nerves.” However, for around 11% of the population, social anxiety or social phobia is debilitating. It restricts your access to employment and education opportunities, all kinds of social contact and, in extreme cases, even normal outings like shopping.
Social Anxiety Put the Breaks on a Normal Life
Just imagine what your life would be like if an invitation to a birthday party caused you to feel anxious and on edge. How restricted would your life be if you feared talking to authority figures like your boss, initiating a conversation with a new work colleague, or even voicing your opinion in a meeting? People with social anxiety actively avoid these situations and others where they feel they are being observed or judged, making everyday life very difficult.
These extreme and persistent behaviours are much more intense and long-lasting than the usual “butterflies” most of us experience in a new social situation. Often, people who develop social phobia have been shy throughout childhood and find that their anxieties become more pronounced during adolescence. What is also known is that there is help available.
Effective Social Anxiety Treatment
Most psychologists treat patients with social anxiety using evidence-based techniques such as CBT Therapy. CBT helps you understand your own social anxiety disorder patterns and let go of habitual negative behaviours in social situations. CBT Therapy also helps you challenge and change your thinking habits that create social anxiety.
Role-playing and video feedback in sessions assist in decreasing self-consciousness. People who practise these techniques build confidence gradually. A psychologist will then introduce you to the types of social situations you have been avoiding in a measured and supportive way.
Psychologists know, from experience, that social phobia can be overcome. There is no need for anyone with this disorder to suffer any longer when help is readily available.
There are a number of Social Anxiety psychologists in Brisbane, qualified to help you and work with you to understand the basis of your social anxiety and provide you with tools and strategies to assist you back into the mainstream of society.