Everyone experiences stress and anxiety from time to time. On its own, this isn’t a very pleasant thing, and how you handle it is key. Learning how to deal with tension and any kind of stress is important for your mental and physical health.
But how do you know when it’s something more — an actual disorder? Let’s look at some symptoms you should keep track of. If they’re regular and persistent, you want to get help right away and not let them spiral out of control.
At Allied Psychiatry & Mental Health, Dr. Hadi Estakhri, MD, specializes in adult and adolescent psychiatry and psychopharmacology. Dr. E, as we like to call him, wants you to remember that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Asking for help is the first step on your path to healing.
A social anxiety disorder is more than being shy
If you’re shy and have difficulty in certain social situations, you’re not alone. Various sources say 20% to nearly 50% of Americans identify as shy. But being shy doesn’t necessarily mean you have a social anxiety disorder, which is characterized by strong fears about interacting with people socially and strange, unfounded worries.
If you have a social anxiety disorder or social phobia, you may:
- Dread meeting new people
- Experience fear or stress in many social situations, including dates and job interviews
- Be afraid to do things in front of other people, including eating, drinking, or even speaking up in class
- Believe you’re always being judged
- Be overly self-conscious in social interactions
The disorder can start young and can affect children. About 7% of Americans suffer from it. And if you don’t nip it in the bud, a social anxiety disorder can get progressively worse and last for years or even a lifetime.
No one wants a full-on panic attack or something even more extreme. Just as there are many reasons and causes for your disorder, there are also many treatment options. These can include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.
Learning how to reduce your own stress and worry is so very vital. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques can get you through a lot, but never hesitate to ask for help.
Specific symptoms of social anxiety disorders
Symptoms of social anxiety disorders can be emotional and physical. While there are many different and specific disorders and each has unique symptoms, the one thing that they all have in common is persistent worry and/or fear. If you’re comfortable with your shyness, you probably don’t have a disorder.
The following are some of the symptoms:
- Easily blushing and trembling when you are around others
- Heart racing in social situations
- Nauseousness in social situations
- Inability to make or keep eye contact
- Fear of being around people and great difficulty participating in conversations
- Feeling uncomfortable and easily embarrassed around others
- Avoiding going to places so you don’t have to interact with others, even servers and store employees
Sadly, only about half of those suffering from a social anxiety disorder receive treatment, and then only after many years of suffering. If you have these symptoms or a combination of some of them, come to our Newport Beach, California, office and talk to Dr. E. That alone might make you feel better and can rule out certain things.
At Allied Psychiatry & Mental Health, we take you through all of your options and work with your specific and very individual needs. Our expertise helps get you through your anxiety. Call us for an appointment, or book easily online right here.