Psychologists Sydney / Anxiety / Social Anxiety Disorder Phobia

Social anxiety

Social anxiety (also referred to as social phobia) is an intense fear of social situations. Specifically, people with social anxiety are fearful of being scrutinised by others, and of being embarrassed or humiliated in front of other people. It is worth noting at the outset that counselling by experienced Counsellors, Psychologists and Psychotherapists are considered effective treatments for social anxiety or social phobia.

People who suffer from social anxiety often feel like they are the only person in the room feeling incompetent. Small social faux pars can seem like huge embarrassments, blushing can feel humiliating, and feelings of self-consciousness are vastly exaggerated.

People with social anxiety generally suffer from a fear of social situations. But social anxiety can also come in the form of specific fears – a fear of talking to a specific person (like a teacher or employer), a fear of dating or a fear of using a public toilet. The fear of public speaking is the most common form of social phobia. (This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)

Shyness versus social phobia

Whilst social anxiety can seem like simply an extreme form of shyness, this is not the case. Shy people can feel awkward or uncomfortable in social situations, but they don’t experience extreme levels of anxiety or panic in the way in which a person with social anxiety might. Most importantly, a shy person doesn’t go out of their way to avoid a situation in which they might feel shy or self-conscious.

On the other hand, people with social anxiety will generally try to avoid the social situations which cause them anxiety. As a result, social phobia, if left unchecked, has the capacity to seriously impact normal life, particularly work and social relationships. An employee might turn down a promotion because he fears giving presentations, or a person might lose friendships as they continually miss out on social events.

People with social anxiety will experience feelings of fear, discomfort and/or panic in the face of their anxiety. In the face of their particular phobia, they will feel self-conscious, embarrassed, and humiliated and these feelings of humiliation can last longer than the situation which first caused the anxiety.

Specific symptoms of social anxiety

Four elements are indicative of the existence of social anxiety:-

1. exposure to a fear social situation invokes significant anxiety and fear of a panic attack
2. the person recognizes that this fear is excessive or irrational, and
3. the feared social situations is either avoided altogether, or experienced under extreme anguish.
4. the anxiety interferes significantly with the person’s normal functioning or lifestyle, and the person is clearly distressed about having the phobia.

If these symptoms feel familiar to you, but your fear is of public places rather than social situations, you might be suffering from Agoraphobia. Please read more about the specific nature of Agoraphobia on our seperate information page.

Social anxiety can be hereditary, and often begins in early adolescence, or even younger. Social anxiety can also be accompanied by feelings of depression or by alcoholism.

Can counselling & psychologist treatment help?

Social anxiety has the potential to severely impact upon your quality of life; inhibiting you from forming relationships, making friends and enjoying your work.

Counselling and therapy treatments as provided by Counsellors & Psychologists can be an extremely effective way to reduce the effects of social anxiety, both by providing copying mechanisms and by attacking the underlying anxiety itself.

To enquire about professional counselling for Social Anxiety or phobia by qualified Counsellors & Psychologists in Sydney call Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney. We welcome your enquiry.

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