Ignoring Social Anxiety Can Lead to Other Mental Health Challenges

social anxietyWhile most people feel nervous or even scared to be in front of a group of people, those feelings are not the same as social anxiety. Worry about how you’ll appear to others or how you will perform in front of others is a common and natural emotion. Social anxiety includes those things, but it goes beyond the infrequent butterflies of social demands. Anxiety goes hand in hand with the overwhelming conviction that you will fail or be judged negatively. It isn’t just worry, it’s the inner certainty that somehow you just are not good enough.

For the person with this form of anxiety, the fear of experiencing failure or rejection is overpowering enough to cause physical symptoms like sweating, headaches, rapid heartbeat, muscle twitching, stomach ache or dizziness. Those symptoms, while unpleasant don’t seem overly concerning in themselves, however, the desire to avoid them is what makes this kind of anxiety problematic.

The desire to avoid such experiences often leads a person to withdraw from healthy social interaction. If you are dreading every place where you might become the center of attention, you find ways to escape those situations. Pretty soon, you begin avoiding situations where you might be noticed. The social isolation frequently leads to depression.

Social anxiety is not a rare condition. It affects 15 million adult Americans. The symptoms usually begin around age 13 – a time when insecurities are common. More than one-third of those with social anxiety wait 10 years or longer to seek out help. By then, the condition has usually become highly disruptive in terms of everyday living.

If your fear of being judged harshly seems to control where you go and what you do, it’s time to do something about it. Call the Family Guidance Center, we can help. Ignoring your anxiety will only make things worse.