What is Social Anxiety?
People with social anxiety disorder experience excessive fear of everyday social situations. For example, they fear being judged, criticised, laughed at or humiliated.
Social anxiety typically happens when people perform in front of others or are being watched in social situations like a meeting with new people and other situations.
Social anxiety disorder is not simply being shy or nervous when giving a speech, a situation that can be daunting for many people. Social anxiety happens in everyday situations like meeting people, eating in public, or being watched doing something. People may feel that they will be laughed at, humiliated or embarrassed.
As a result, people with social anxiety disorder avoid or limit social situations, affecting a person’s life in many ways, including lowered career and academic performance and more difficulty forming relationships and friendships.
Symptoms of Social Anxiety
The symptoms of social anxiety can be physical and psychological.
Examples of physical symptoms you may experience include:
- excessive perspiration
- pounding rapid heartbeat
- blushing when trying to speak
- upset stomach and nausea.
Psychological symptoms of social anxiety include:
- behaviours such as avoiding social situations due to fear of embarrassment
- excessive thoughts and worry about what you will say or do in a social situation
- fear and distress if you think you are unable to avoid a situation.
Psychology Treatment for Social Anxiety
A mental health professional, such as a social anxiety psychologist, may diagnose you if you experience persistent symptoms and they cause significant distress in your everyday life.
- help you understand your own social anxiety disorder pattern
- challenge and change your relationship with habitual ways of thinking, which create anxiety
- help you let go of habitual unhelpful behaviours you may do in social situations
- decrease self-consciousness.
- role-play and video feedback in session to help you create self-awareness.
When you have gained enough skills and practice in sessions, gradually face social situations which you may have avoided for a long time to build confidence that you can cope.
Medication may be needed in conjunction with CBT Therapy if the anxiety is severe.
Finding a Psychologist for Social Anxiety in Brisbane
Treatment for social anxiety is available in Brisbane and is offered by a number of qualified psychologists in private practice.
Anxiety treatment is generally delivered through individual counselling sessions and can be tailored to meet your specific needs. Many psychologists in Brisbane who offer treatment for anxiety also have experience working with a range of anxiety disorders, including phobias and fears, OCD and other commonly presenting issues such as depression.
You can find an Anxiety psychologist online and call or send them an online booking request to learn about their experience, fees and availability. You can also ask for a referral from your GP or psychiatrist. It is important to ensure that the psychologist you choose is trained and experienced in treating anxiety and understands the condition well.