Many people feel anxious in social situations. However, for some people, these feelings are especially intense. If your anxious feelings disrupt your normal ability to function, you may have a condition called social anxiety disorder. People with this disorder tend to have certain things that trigger their symptoms, i.e., cause them to appear. Fortunately, a social anxiety treatment program can help you overcome those triggers.
Basics of Social Anxiety Disorder
A social anxiety disorder differs from everyday nervousness or anxiousness. In addition to disrupting levels of anxiety, it produces intense fear, as well as avoidance behaviors. The disorder’s wide-ranging symptoms may include such things as:
- Fear of anyone making negative judgments about you
- A strong fear of strangers
- Extreme anxiety or fear in specific social situations
- Recurring fear of self-humiliation
- Believing that the worst will happen in social situations
- Avoidance of even casual, everyday social situations
- A rapid heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing normally
- Stomach distress
- Tension in your muscles
- Muscle tremors
- An inability to think clearly
You may experience different symptoms at different times. In addition, the intensity of your symptoms can vary from day to day.
Types of Social Anxiety Triggers
A social anxiety trigger is anything that makes your anxiety symptoms appear or grow worse. Potential sources of these triggers range from specific places or situations to certain people or things. Examples that may apply to you include:
- Speaking in public
- Having other people focus their attention on you
- Making casual conversation
- Being criticized in public
- Using a public bathroom
- Eating in front of other people
- Going to any social gathering
- Taking tests
- Talking to strangers
- Being in intimate personal situations
Every person with social anxiety has a unique blend of triggers. That specific mix might not always be the same. In addition, some of your triggers may be more intense than others.
Overcoming Your Social Anxiety Triggers
How do anxiety treatment programs help you cope with your social anxiety triggers? Typically, they rely on a form of psychotherapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT. This therapy does several things. First, it improves your understanding of social anxiety disorder. Next, CBT teaches you how to recognize the things that trigger your anxiety symptoms. The therapy then teaches you how to overcome those anxiety triggers.
The specific form of CBT used for this purpose is called exposure therapy. This therapy purposefully exposes you to your anxiety triggers in a controlled setting. With help from your therapist, you will work through your anxiety reactions during exposure. Over time, this process helps reduce the impact of your reactions. In this way, it also helps you weaken the power of your anxiety triggers.
Several exposure methods can be used. For example, your therapist may introduce you to a real-life anxiety trigger. As an alternative, you may be asked to imagine yourself being exposed to a trigger as vividly as possible. Today, therapists may also use virtual reality technology as part of exposure CBT.
Exposure therapy can do more than help you overcome your anxiety triggers. It may also help you gain a sense of personal power and self-control. In addition, it may help you process underlying emotions that your anxiety symptoms have masked.
Seek Help From New Start Recovery’s Anxiety Treatment Program
At New Start Recovery, we’re well aware that many people affected by addiction also have social anxiety issues. That’s why we offer an anxiety treatment program as part of our rehab services. This program helps you overcome the effects of your anxiety symptoms. In turn, it may also help boost your success in drug or alcohol treatment. For more information, call us today at 833.433.0448 or complete our brief online form.