What is Social Anxiety?
Social Anxiety (also known as Social Phobia) is an overwhelming/ excessive fear of social situations where embarrassment or humiliation may occur.
Situations may include;
Talking to friends on the phone, joining conversations, meeting new people, eating and drinking in front of people, break times, asking and answering questions in class, buying items in a shop or using social media.
What are the symptoms of Social Anxiety?
Social Anxiety often presents as constant worry about social situations, before they happen, during and after the event. People who experience social anxiety fear being criticised, often try to avoid social situations, worry something embarrassing will happen, may experience bodily sensations such as a fast heart beat, feel sick, may shake/tremble or experience sweating.
Is Social Anxiety common amongst children and young people?
Yes Social Anxiety is very common and if left untreated it can have a huge impact upon your life such as being unable to do every day activities, poor relationships, low self esteem and can also disrupt education.
What is the treatment for Social Anxiety?
Self help guides
Self help guides can be used at home, they often help you to understand more about your anxiety and promote relaxation techniques such as breathing or calming exercises in order to manage or overcome Social Anxiety. Self help guides are usually aimed for people with mild to moderate symptoms of Social Anxiety.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (also known as CBT) with a qualified psychotherapist can help you to understand more about Social Anxiety i.e. what it is, what causes it and what keeps it going. CBT will also help you to identify negative thoughts and avoidant behaviours, your psychotherapist will work with you to help you change them. CBT is available on a 1:1 basis (you and the psychotherapist), in a group setting or with your parents/carers. CBT is generally used for moderate to severe symptoms of Anxiety and is considered the best treatment due to having a good evidence base.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (also know as SSRI) can be used to treat severe anxiety, however this is not usually recommended to treat young people under the age of 15 and should always be uses as a last resort by Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (also known as CAMHS). The Link does not prescribe medications to any service user.
Where to get help for Social Anxiety?
Your GP will be able to signpost you to an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services such as The Link. We also accept social care and school referrals.
If you would like further help and advice on this issue,
please feel free to get in touch with us on 01642 505580.
*Information obtained via OXCADAT manual and NHS website – references available on request if required.