Social Anxiety: What Is It and How Does One Cope?

By Emma Yasukawa

Everyone has been put in an uncomfortable social situation; whether it was meeting someone new, going on a first date, or briefly meeting a stranger on the streets. Though these feelings are not pleasant, most people can power through and get over them quickly. However, if a person has social anxiety, these feelings are so severe that they can sometimes be too much to handle. Eventually, that individual will try to isolate themselves and avoid any uncomfortable social situation. This may provide a great form of relief but overall, it is a temporary solution to a greater problem.

Social anxiety disorder (formerly known as social phobia) is characterized by the persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or judgement by others. The feelings that stem from social anxiety are usually based upon the fear that the individual will act in a certain way, or show anxiety symptoms, that will be embarrassing and humiliating. Common physical symptoms that a person may experience are:
• Flushing of the skin
• Rapid heartbeat
• Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
• Upset stomach and nausea
• Trembling

Social anxiety can be treated successfully through psychotherapy and/or medications. Exposure therapy is a key element in the use of therapy and usually involves three stages: The first stage of exposure therapy is to introduce the individual to the feared situation. The second stage is to increase the risk of displeasure for the goal that the individual can build self-confidence and be able to handle any rejection or criticism. The third stage involves working out different coping mechanisms involving disapproval. In this final stage, the therapist may ask the patient to imagine their worst-case scenario in order to develop correct constructive responses.

If you or someone you know is struggling with social anxiety, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Sources:
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/social-anxiety-disorder.shtml
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/anxiety


Image Source:
https://hypnosis.ahcenter.com/our-programs/overcoming-social-anxiety/


Anxiety, Depression, Eating Disorders, ADHD, Et al: How to Support a Friend with Mental Illness

By: Sarah Cohen

When helping a friend with a mental illness, the first step should be assessment of their symptoms. Sometimes they just might be going through a difficult time, but if certain common symptoms associated with mental health issues persist it is imperative to respond sensitively. Majority of the time, friends will just want to know they have your support and that you care about them. A good way to show your support is by talking to them. If you provide a non-judgmental space for them to speak about their issues it will help encourage them to be open with their problems. Let them lead the conversation and don’t pressure them to reveal information. It can be incredibly difficult and painful to speak about these issues and they might not be ready to share everything. If you aren’t their therapist do not diagnose them or make assumptions about how they are feeling, just listen and show you understand. If someone doesn’t want to speak with you, don’t take it personally, just continue to show them you care about their wellbeing and want to help as much as possible. Just knowing they have support can give them the strength they need to contact someone who can help them.

If a friend is having a crisis, such as a panic attack or suicidal thoughts, you must stay calm. Try not to overwhelm them by asking a lot of questions and confronting them in a public setting. Ask them gently what would be helpful to them right now or reassure them. If they hurt themselves, get first aid as soon as possible. If someone is suicidal, contact the suicide hotline at 800-237-8255 immediately.

The best way to help someone is by connecting them to professional help. By expressing your concern and support you can show them that they can get help and their mental health problems can be treated.

If you or someone you know needs support with their mental illness, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/supporting-someone-mental-health-problem

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/talk/friends-family-members

Anxiety during COVID-19

Anxiety during COVID-19

By: Alexa Greenbaum

Reported rates of anxiety have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of people reporting anxiety and fear symptoms is well above historical norms. Polls have found that nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health. Hotlines have seen consistent results. During April alone, a month in which most Americans were in quarantine, the federal government’s distress hotline increased text rates more than 1,000 percent. In addition, dozens of states and locally run distress hotlines have reported sizeable increases in call volume as well. If you are experiencing anxiety during this time, you are not alone.

Americans who are in quarantine and sheltering in place are suffering. Outbreaks are stressful and symptoms of anxiety can include:

•    Fear and worry about your health and the health of your loved ones.

•    Changes in sleep or eating patterns.

•    Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.

•    Worsening of chronic health problems.

•    Worsening of mental health conditions.

•    Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. 

In particular, those who have reported high rates of fear and anxiety include:

•    Minorities

•    Women

•    Older people and people with preexisting health conditions who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as well as people who have mental health conditions including problems with substance abuse

•    Adults under the age of 34 (children and teens)

•    People who are helping with the response to COVID-19 (doctors, health care providers, and first responders

During this time, it is more important than ever to take care of your mental health. Asking for and accepting help is a sign of strength. Call your health care provider if you are experiencing stress or anxiety. Health care providers can help you by providing a procedure and referrals.

If you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety from COVID-19 or another crisis, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-covid-19-is-doing-to-our-mental-health

Image Source:

https://www.vox.com/identities/2020/4/16/21219693/coronavirus-anxiety-depression-mental-health-ptsd-covid

Assertiveness and Anxiety: How Expressing Yourself Can Lead to a Happier Self

By: Sanjita Ekhelikar

“Communication is key” is a phrase we are all familiar with, yet many struggle with actually acting on it. The most effective form of communication is through assertiveness, which involves expressing one’s views in a straightforward manner, and in standing up for one’s needs while still being considerate of others. This differs from aggressiveness in that it does not involve being outwardly emotional or insulting to others, and differs from passivity in that the individual clearly states their feelings and desires. Being assertive involves open communication, which can be difficult to engage in, especially for people struggling with anxiety. However, through practicing and learning assertiveness, people with anxiety can actually feel less worry and more confident in themselves.

Anxiety describes the uncomfortable feelings of turmoil and dread that one might have in anticipation that results in physical sensations such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, and rumination. For many who struggle with anxiety, the thought of being assertive with others makes them anxious. They often worry that being assertive will come off as being mean, creating conflict, and being inconsiderate. Therefore, many choose passive communication, and never voice their views or feelings. This worsens their state of worry, as they are not properly understood by those around them and can easily be taken advantage of. They are often misunderstood which increases their worry. Others often take advantage of them because of their meek manner and visible anxiety.

Contrary to what those with anxiety believe, assertiveness can actually help them feel better. Often times, those with anxiety create situations in their mind about everything that will go wrong if they voice themselves to another person. However, such a form of open communication can create a better understanding between two people. It allows the person with anxiety to be properly understood, to dispel the fearful thoughts in their head, and become more confident in themselves and their views.

How can people with anxiety begin working towards being more assertive? By stating their views using “I,” individuals can avoid putting blame on others by expressing their own opinions. In addition, reminding themselves that their fears are not rational and that it is their anxiety talking to them can help them become increasingly comfortable with being assertive. Finally, practice makes perfect – keep trying and speak up!

If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Signs and Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder:

By: Cassie Sieradzky

Social anxiety disorder is characterized by severe anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. An individual with social anxiety disorder may have a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others, which can interfere with their daily functioning. Social anxiety disorder can be limited to only one type of situation, such as a fear of speaking or performing in public, or whenever an individual is around other people. The feared situation is avoided or endured with extreme anxiety and distress. In addition, they often experience low self-esteem and depression and have a hard time making or keeping friends.

Physical symptoms such as blushing, profuse sweating, upset stomach, and trembling often accompany the intense stress of social anxiety disorder. These visible symptoms intensify the fear of disapproval and often become an additional focus of fear. As people with social anxiety disorder worry about experiencing the physical symptoms, the greater their chances are of developing them.

About seven percent of the U.S. population is estimated to have social anxiety disorder within a 12-month period. Social anxiety disorder occurs twice as often in women than men and typically begins in childhood or early adolescence. Social anxiety disorder often runs in families and may be comorbid with depression or other anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is not uncommon for individuals with social anxiety disorder to self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs, which can lead to addiction.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that is very effective in treating social anxiety. CBT and behavioral therapy are used to reduce anxiety by managing negative beliefs or behaviors that help maintain the disorder. Medications, in conjunction with psychotherapy, can also play a role in treatment.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from social anxiety disorder, licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia). (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/social-anxiety-disorder-social-phobia