By Stephanie Chambers
As the holiday season comes to a close, some of us may be feeling relieved because we find it stressful to attend parties because of our mild social anxiety. Others may be feeling lonely and depressed because they either weren’t invited to any parties or because their severe social anxiety prevented them from attending. But this article will explain how to find social anxiety treatment in Chicago, Illinois and Iowa.
What is social anxiety?
Unlike feeling a little shy or uncomfortable, people suffering from severe social anxiety experience fear or anxiety so often that they tend to avoid social situations altogether. This anxiety becomes part of their everyday life.
They tend to find almost all social situations extremely stressful (e.g., eating out, going to work or school or making small talk). Symptoms include perspiring excessively, shortness of breath, nausea or a racing heart and self-consciousness. Some may experience panic attacks as a result of it.
What’s the difference between social phobia and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)?
In the past “Social Anxiety Disorder” (SAD) was called “social phobia”. Nowadays the fear of being scrutinized and judged while performing some type of task in public is now considered one expression of social anxiety.
What can you do to prevent social anxiety?
Changing your thinking patterns can help. For example, instead of obsessing about your behavior in social situations and worrying that others will notice your anxiety or that something embarrassing will happen, if you change to a more positive attitude you won’t be perpetuating the problem. You can talk to a counselor about how best to do this.
Just avoiding the social situation isn’t the solution, because then you will never learn how to overcome your fears. If you don’t learn how to connect with other people, you could end up lonely.
Where can you find social anxiety treatment in Chicago, Illinois and Iowa?
All of the counselors at the Ardent Counseling Center are trained in how to treat social anxiety. Ardent has offices in Lakeview in Chicago and in Hofffman Estates and some other suburbs of Chicagoland. Ardent also has a number of offices in different parts of Iowa like Grinnell and Willamsburg.
What other strategies can a counselor use to help you overcome social anxiety?
Some therapists like to use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This entails:
- Education — learning about your social anxiety symptoms and what triggers them
- Changing your thought patterns — identifying and changing unhelpful thoughts that worsen your social anxiety
- Changing your behavior — instead of avoiding social situations, this involves exposing yourself to a social environment that you find stressful to see that the things you fear probably won’t happen.
Some of the counselors at Ardent also recommend stress reduction techniques like meditation and mindfulness as they can help reduce your anxiety.
Won’t seeing a counselor itself bring on my social anxiety?
All of the counselors at Ardent are very experienced and they will know how to put you at ease. You have nothing to fear from them. And if you want, you could ask for your first session to be just on the phone so you can get to know them a little before seeing them in person.
Stop letting social anxiety hold you back — book an appointment an Ardent counselor today in Illinois or Iowa.