Research suggests that almost 11 percent of the Australian population experiences social anxiety, also commonly referred to as social phobia. More women than men suffer from it, and it is found to start in childhood or adolescence.
What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is an overwhelming fear of being judged or criticized negatively by other people. The fear will lead to having feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, self-consciousness and embarrassment.
If a person is feeling or acting irrationally to a social situation, but then seems ‘normal’ when they are alone, then we might point to social anxiety being the problem.
Are there differen
t types of Social Anxiety?
- Specific social anxiety, which might be public speaking, where the person is fine in social situations as long as they don’t have to present all talk in a group setting.
- Generalized social anxiety is more common, whereby people are anticipating the worry and the feelings of embarrassment in any or most social evets and situations.
- Agoraphobia can be a result of severe social anxiety that has been left untreated. It is the fear of leaving familiar places, like home.
What are some of the symptoms of Social Anxiety?
Usually people that experience social anxiety feel overwhelming fear when:
- Going to a meeting at work
- being picked out of a crowd or small group of people to talk
- Meeting new people
- Being watched while doing something
- Attending most social encounters, this can range from going to the supermarket and the fear of bumping into someone or going to a party.
What causes Social Anxiety?
There are a number of causes of social anxiety, which may include:
Temperament – People who are shy or timid may be at risk of getting social anxiety.
Family history – It may run in the family, partly because of a genetic disposition and partly because of a learned behaviour.
Environment and previous trauma – People may have been treated poorly, bullied or had a traumatic event in a social setting or in public that has caused social anxiety.
How is Social Anxiety treated by traditional medicine?
There are two main types of treatment
- Psychological treatment (talking therapies)
- Medication (antidepressant and tranquiliser type medication)
How does Hypnotherapy help with Social Anxiety?
Hypnotherapy can deal with the unprocessed emotion of fear that the person is carrying with them, to heal from past events and empower the client to feel stronger and more confident in social situations.
With hypnosis the person can visualise being in a social setting and feeling calm and confident, ongoing practice with this can change the way the person responds in a real social situation, noticing feelings of calm and confidence.
2. Social anxiety institute; https://socialanxietyinstitute.org/what-is-social-anxiety