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


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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

Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia). (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2018, from