When we’re first diagnosed with something, we usually have a lot of questions. Social anxiety is no different. Google is often one of the first places we go with these questions, but we can’t always find the answers we’re looking for. Sometimes we can’t find enough information to answer our questions, at other times we find so much information that we don’t know where to begin. We’ve pulled together ten of the most popular searches starting with ‘Why Does Social Anxiety…?’ to try and provide some answers.
Why Does Social Anxiety Develop?
Social anxiety normally develops due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some things can increase our risk of social anxiety developing. This can include things like family history, bullying, abuse, conflict, new work demands, and having insecurities about our physical appearance. Some people have an overactive amygdala. This is a structure in the brain that controls feelings or thoughts of anxiety. If this is overactive, it can contribute to feelings of anxiety.
Why Does Social Anxiety Exist?
When we perceive something as dangerous, anxiety speeds up our thoughts and heightens our senses. In the past, this would have helped us to fight off predators.
Though anxiety can still be helpful in some situations, it also, unfortunately, crops up at times when it isn’t useful. For those of us with social anxiety, it’s notably triggered when we’re in social situations.
Why Does Social Anxiety Happen?
Social anxiety normally happens in response to social situations. This is because these situations feel like a ‘threat’ to those of us who have social anxiety, so our ‘fight or flight’ response is triggered, and we feel anxious. Sometimes, some of the symptoms of social anxiety, such as blushing, sweating, or stuttering can cause us to feel embarrassed, which ultimately leaves us feeling even more anxious. It can be a vicious circle.
Why Does Social Anxiety Cause Depression?
Although social anxiety and depression can be linked and can overlap, they are not the same and social anxiety doesn’t normally cause depression in isolation. It could contribute to depression because when we’re socially anxious, we’re more likely to avoid social events and become increasingly isolated. We might also stop partaking in activities that we had previously enjoyed, and our anxiety and frustration around things like these can lead to us feeling low.
Why Is Social Anxiety So Common Now?
About 5% of people in the UK are thought to experience social phobia, another term for social anxiety. Nationally, anxiety has actually decreased since 2012. However, mental health is something that as a society we talk about more now than we ever did. This can mean that mental illness can seem more common than it might have done in the past.
There is no single cause of social anxiety, but various aspects of modern life could contribute to it. This can include things like the speed of modern life, how we use technology and the rise in social media, where people tend to post carefully curated highlights of their life. It can be hard to switch off.
Why Is Social Anxiety So Common?
Around 5% of people in the UK experience social phobia, also known as social anxiety (they’re terms which are often used interchangeably to refer to the overwhelming, and debilitating fear, of social occasions).
Anxiety is on a spectrum. Every single one of us will experience a level of anxiety at some point in our life, that’s part of being human. For many of us, this anxiety will be in response to a social situation. It can sometimes be hard to work out whether what we’re experiencing is a symptom of social anxiety or part of a spectrum or a ‘normal’ human reaction to a circumstance.
Why Is Social Anxiety A Problem?
Social anxiety can have a significant impact on our lives. It can affect our friendships, work relationships, ability to interview for jobs that we want, how comfortable we feel about leaving the house, and our health. We can end up feeling incredibly isolated and our mood can be affected.
It’s a problem because it can have a really negative impact on our lives. In addition to it affecting our lives, it can also affect the lives of those around us.
Why Is Social Anxiety Important?
Anxiety has always been an important part of our survival mechanism. It allows us to identify situations that are a threat to us, and to respond to them in ways that keep us safe. Social anxiety is an extension of this. It’s part of an anxiety response that tells us when a situation we’re in is unsafe.
Although this has always been an important part of helping us to survive, unfortunately, our anxiety can crop up at times when it’s unhelpful. With social anxiety, this is normally in response to social situations.
Why Is Social Anxiety Ruining My Life?
When we’re living with social anxiety, it might feel as though it’s ruining our lives. Social anxiety can cause us to feel really lonely and isolated. It’s not normally the case that we don’t want to see people, we often just feel as though we can’t. Our anxiety can stop us from taking opportunities that we want to take and from taking part in activities that we want to do. It can affect our relationships, jobs, friendships, and self-esteem.
With help and support, which can include therapy and medication, we learn ways to manage social anxiety. It’s a process that can take time, but for the majority of people, it is possible to reduce it to a manageable level.
Why Is Social Anxiety Disorder A Mental Illness?
Social anxiety disorder is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. It’s recognised as a diagnosable mental illness. Being anxious in occasional social situations is part of being human. We all get anxious from time to time. But for some of us, our anxiety around social events can reach the point where it has a significant impact on our lives, which is why it can be diagnosed as a mental illness.
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