Social Anxiety: How Big of a Deal is it?

Hayden Rose, Editor

Social anxiety is a term often thrown around by a lot of people nowadays, but it may be best to explore it and figure out some potential remedies and treatments for it.

First, it’s important to note that social anxiety is a mental disorder, sometimes referred to as “social phobia.” Anxiety by itself may be characterized as anything that creates negative stress in your life, and because of this, Social Anxiety disorder is a disorder characterized by a flaw in the way that one’s brain handles anxiety in specifically social situations. This means that anyone with Social Anxiety Disorder has difficulty handling everyday social activities and interactions, such as talking on the phone, or standing in or near large crowds of people. The anxiety itself often comes from self-consciousness, a fear of being judged, embarrassed, or seen negatively.

According to Mayo Clinic, some of the ways that this disorder shows itself are in the avoidance of social interaction, shakiness in limbs, blushing, sweating, shaky voice, and heavy breathing when someone with this disorder is faced with a stressful social situation.

SAD can have a pretty large effect on someone’s life. Daily routines can develop into self-conscious habits, relationships could become distant, work settings could be disrupted or otherwise affected, and generally everything that involves interacting with others can cause a great deal of unnecessary stress in one’s life.

There are, fortunately, a few preventative measures that one can take to prevent SAD from becoming an issue. This includes reaching out for help early. Anxiety disorders often get worse when left unchecked and untreated, so it’s best to reach out to a mental health professional if you start noticing symptoms that are affecting your daily life. Keeping a journal can help keep some people organized, and can help a mental health professional identify potential causes or problems in one’s life. It may not work for everyone, but it’s a good thing to try. Setting up a schedule is another method of managing anxiety so it doesn’t get out of control. Managing your time efficiently can help you save the amount of energy you know you need to properly function during the day. Lastly, avoiding the use of unhealthy substances, such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can all negatively affect how your brain handles anxiety.

Social Anxiety Disorder may seem like a decently mundane thing, but it affects a lot more than most people might think, and should be taken seriously. If you begin experiencing symptoms like these and they begin to affect your life, talk to a mental health professional to figure out potential causes and to get advice on how to move forward so that SAD doesn’t develop with other mental health disorders, such as depression.