Social Anxiety also known as Social Phobia and Social anxiety disorder can be classified as a fear of being judged and evaluated by other people. It is by far the most common issue that I treat in Dublin and everyone has to some extent a little social anxiety. It does tend to go hand in hand with low self-esteem and self-confidence so as part of treatment for social anxiety it is imperative that these two issues are also addressed and new psychological foundations put in place so that they never become eroded again.
If you suffer from social anxiety you may find that the opinions of other people greatly affect you. There is a constant fear of rejection, criticism and embarrassment. Where ever a sufferer may be they are nearly always acutely away of the external environment and what other people may be thinking of you. Social anxiety can rear its head with physical symptoms such as blushing, stuttering, many sexual problems, difficulty in maintaining eye contact, Shy bladder or create fears such as the fear of public speaking, fear of intimacy in relationships, fear of talking to people etc. Most of us, to some extent have a little social anxiety ! We do contemplate what others think of us !
However, people with severe social anxiety can have serious issues with life. In fact they tend to shy away from life completely in an attempt to avoid all social situations as this minimizes the self-defeating and horrible feelings of being judged. Other sufferers have learned to set very high standards for themselves in order to avoid perceived judgement. These group of people may refer to themselves as perfectionists, but in reality they are not driven to be perfect, the real underlying driving force is .. working towards perfection to avoid being judged for being a failure.
We have many social influences in life…. From our formative years right through adulthood. These influences are mainly parental, family group, social group in terms of our community, religion, culture, country etc. Our social influences can be both positive and negative. Our social influences all have certain values, certain norms and expectations in our behavior, these can vary in resulting in some being more restrictive and judgmental than others. There may be sever consequences for breaking some of the defined rules, thus putting people under more social pressure and fear of being judged.