Social Anxiety or social phobia is one of the most common anxiety disorders. People experiencing social anxiety describe feeling excessively fearful, anxious or nervous in social situations such as, meeting new people or a situations in which they might be observed or evaluated. The person fears that he or she will be humiliated and embarrassed in front of others. As a result of being overly concerned about being negatively viewed by others, people often avoid certain social or performance situations.
Common situations that are avoided or experienced with marked anxiety include:
People describe feeling extremely self-consciousness and recognize that their worry about being viewed poorly by others is excessive, however they feel that no matter what they do or say others will judge them negatively. At times, people report having “anticipatory anxiety”- when they are facing having to participate in a social event and they will often spend the days or weeks leading up to it worrying.
Yes, people feeling anxious in social situations often report having physical sensations. You may be experiencing palpitations, pounding heart, accelerated heart rate, sweating, shaking, gastrointestinal discomfort, and blushing. Often when people experience these sensations they begin to feel fearful or apprehensive of these sensations. You may be fearful of speaking in a group setting due to a worry that others will see my hands trembling or see me blush.
Social anxiety is more than feeling a little shy or self-conscious in front of others.
It is associated with significant distress and interference in several areas of a person’s life, such as daily routine, work, school, family and social relations. A fear of being rejected in social situations has often led to people not applying for certain jobs, taking courses in college/university that involve presentations, attending family or social events, and even avoiding dating or pursuing romantic relationships. Some people feel anxious only in a particular situation, such as public speaking, whereas, others may be feeling anxious across a variety of social situations.
Research based psychological interventions such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) have been found to be an effective form of treatment for social anxiety. Dr. Ahmed’s approach to psychological interventions is grounded in scientific-based approaches such a CBT, mindfulness, schema focused therapy, motivational interviewing and client focused therapy. She provides her clients with services that are customized based on the goals they are hoping to achieve. The sessions will provide you with the skills and strategies to manage your anxious thoughts, physical sensations and so that you can participate in the activities and social situations that you may be avoiding.
Taking the first step towards seeking help for your social anxiety can be challenging. In particular, speaking to a psychologist may seem daunting but rest assured Dr. Ahmed provides a supportive, collaborative, and non-judgmental environment so that you can feel comfortable expressing your concerns. Participating in psychological services can help you learn to overcome your anxiety in social situations and allow you to enjoy your life instead of worrying about it.
Contact Dr. Ahmed for a consultation and inquire further about the process.