Many people get nervous or feel self-conscious now and then, especially before giving a speech, attending a job interview or meeting their significant other’s friends and family. But social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, involves intense fear of certain social situations—especially situations that are unfamiliar or in which you think you’ll be watched and judged by others. But even those with severe social anxiety disorder can learn to overcome it and be comfortable in social situations.
But is it just the jitters, or do you have social anxiety disorder? Here are some symptoms that indicate you should seek treatment for social phobia:
- Intense worry for days or weeks before a social event
- Extreme fear of being watched or judged by others
- Excessive anxiety in everyday social situations
- Fear or being embarrassed
- Shortness of breath, upset stomach, dizziness or feeling faint before interacting with people
If you think you have social anxiety disorder, here are some steps you can take to overcome it:
1. Challenge negative thoughts. Retrain your brain to think positively. This can be done with help from a mental health therapist or on your own.
2. Practice deep breathing exercises to soothe nerves.
3. Contact your Orange County therapist to discuss your options for cognitive behavioral therapy and medication.
Forming meaningful relationships is an important part of life. Don’t let social anxiety prevent you from living yours to the fullest.