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Social Anxiety No More: Building Connections with Ease

What is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety, also known as social anxiety disorder (SAD) or social phobia, is characterised by an intense fear and discomfort in social situations. Individuals with social anxiety experience significant anxiety and distress when facing social interactions or performance situations, often due to a fear of negative judgment, embarrassment, or humiliation by others. This fear can be so severe that it interferes with their daily life and functioning.

Key features and symptoms of social anxiety may include:

  1. Fear of Social Situations: People with social anxiety typically fear specific social situations, such as public speaking, attending parties, meeting new people, dating, or eating in front of others.

  2. Excessive Self-Consciousness: Individuals with social anxiety often feel extremely self-conscious and believe that others are closely observing and negatively evaluating them.

  3. Physical Symptoms: Social anxiety can lead to physical symptoms such as blushing, sweating, trembling, rapid heartbeat, nausea and muscle tension when exposed to social situations.

  4. Anticipatory Anxiety: Those with social anxiety often experience intense anxiety leading up to a feared event, sometimes days or weeks in advance.

  5. Avoidance Behaviour: To avoid anxiety-provoking situations, people with social anxiety may go to great lengths to avoid them. This can severely limit their personal and professional lives.

  6. Impaired Functioning: Social anxiety can significantly interfere with one's ability to work, form relationships and enjoy social activities. It can hinder academic or career advancement and lead to isolation.

  7. Low Self-Esteem: Over time, social anxiety can contribute to low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy, as individuals may perceive themselves as less capable or likeable due to their avoidance of social situations.

How can CBT help Social Anxiety?

CBT is considered one of the most effective treatments for social anxiety disorder, as it addresses both the cognitive and behavioural aspects of the condition. Over time, individuals can gain confidence in social situations, reduce their anxiety and experience significant improvements in their social functioning and overall well-being.

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