Social Anxiety Attacks

Social anxiety attacks generally happen in people who have social phobias, which is an extreme and irrational fear that occurs when the person is in social situations. Persons with social phobia will feel that everyone is watching and judging them, even though they do know that this is not true. A social phobia sufferer will never be able to relax when other people are around and will constantly feel self-conscious.

People who have social anxiety attacks will avoid social situations as much as possible and only relax when they are on their own. Even if the people around them are familiar people, they may still feel pressurized and self-conscious. Particularly stressful situations arise when the person with a social phobia will have to interact with someone of authority, such as bosses at work. In these situations, the sufferer will experiences a rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, shaking, sweating, excessive blushing and difficulty speaking. The more these feelings kick in, the more anxious the person gets, aggravating the anxiety.

It is estimated that social anxiety attacks occur in about 15 million Americans at any given year. This condition is not very well understood by the general public and by many health professionals, and in fact social phobias tend to get misdiagnosed. This makes it harder for persons with social anxiety to get help, and they may not even understand what’s going on with them. To complicate matters, symptoms of social anxiety vary a lot in different individuals. For example some may be excessive self-conscious about a particular body part (e.g. their ears or neck), others may be self-conscious of writing in public for fear that others will see their hand shaking. However, all socially anxious people will know that their fears are irrational, and that others are not truly judging them all the time. Yet, they still continue to experience the fear and anxiousness.

Treatment for social anxiety attacks is generally via cognitive-behavioural therapy, and individuals can experience rapid improvement in their condition in just a few sessions. In these sessions, individuals are thought a number of strategies on how to deal with their anxiety. For example, they are thought how to identify and challenge their negative thoughts, which are the main contributor of their anxiety. By using a logical approach to evaluating negative thoughts, it is possible to replace them with more realistic and positive ways of feeling about a social situation.

It is also helpful to look at your lifestyle and make sure that you are getting enough sleep and that you make time for activities you enjoy. It is also important to limit caffeine and alcohol as much as possible, and to quit smoking.