Help for Social Anxiety

social anxiety photo communal seating at a large restaurant table

Social Anxiety Disorder is the third most common psychiatric illness, and depending on the definition one uses- the incidence is believed to be anywhere from 5 to 13 percent of the population in the United States suffer from it in their lifetime.

What is Social Anxiety?

Social Anxiety manifests in various ways some of which can be fairly innocuous. Everyone is nervous about social interactions from time to time, the difference with what would be understood as a Social Anxiety Disorder, is that it is experienced in a pervasive way which has a negative and sometimes harmful effect on an individual’s life. This type of condition may cause someone to pre-maturely leave social situations or avoid them altogether. It may lead to social isolation, poor work performance and troubled marital relationships. In most of these cases, people report having anxious thoughts such as: “People will notice how nervous I look,” “ I will say the wrong thing,” or “Everyone will think I am out of place and a loser,” which only adds to the anxiety level.

Taking the step to seek counseling is often a big decision and in itself can induce anxiety. At BETA, we will work with you at your pace and engage with you with skill, empathy and effectiveness. We will together and collaboratively seek to minimize anxiety and gradually replace it with confidence, hope and a sense of potential.

Common somatic complaints include:

  • Pounding or racing heart beat
  • Dry mouth
  • Shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  •  Feeling dizzy

Fairly innocuous social actions may feel impossible. The thought of speaking to a group, socializing with strangers, or proposing a toast, can be absolutely terrifying to imagine. You may experience a racing heart, dizziness, sweating, or other anxiety symptoms. Often, if you do force yourself to socialize, you may feel miserable before, during, and after the event and replay the events in your mind. Typically, the problem isn’t limited to social events, but may affect your life at work and at school.

Getting Help for Anxiety

There are a number of treatments for anxiety. Certain types of psychotherapy can help treat and manage social anxiety disorder. An effective therapist may use cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, the most widely researched intervention. CBT seeks to correct established patterns of negative thinking and the behaviors they cause by helping people face their social fears directly. Our therapists are highly trained in this and other treatment modalities.

We want to help. Very often good therapeutic interventions can therapy can address many of these issues and result in a notable improvement in comfort, confidence, performance, relationships and quality of life.  To arrange a session with one of our therapists, please contact us at info@bostoneveningtherapy or call us at 617-738-1480.

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