The Monster of Social Anxiety

  • Dr. Sapna Sharma
  • 30 July 2018

They all looked perfectly comfortable in their skin as they sat as a group in their familiar surroundings. It was a group alright but a group of the elitist and the highbrow. I was invited to conduct a session at one of their meetings. I was welcomed well but the affair seemed to be more about their fellowship rather than a learning sessions. I get that sometimes.
I start with the comforting statement that I do not expect them to answer any of my questions and then I add, “But please give an honest reply to every question to yourself”.
Then I pass around a simple exercise that has some 20 statements and they have to be marked according to their relevance in your life. Among other statements, a particular one says, “When you enter a place of social gathering alone do you – Immediately go and mingle/ wait in a corner to see if you can find anyone familiar/ curse yourself for coming alone/ Feel almost mortified with embarrassment till u see someone familiar.
As a group they would have been arrogant about the answer- ‘of course we hold lot of meetings and social gatherings’, but privately most of them select either the 3rd or the 4th statement!
This is the tip of the iceberg called as Social anxiety. The symptoms may range from here to not able to move outside the familiar environment of one’s home. It can be almost paralyzing can severely affect life and profession of a person.
Why should we have so many cases of social anxiety today with everyone is more externalized and outgoing? The answer seems to be hidden in this very question. Other than some chemical problems, social anxiety is traced to stream from various life experiences such as childhood bullying, extreme stress of performance, bad social experiences, non-inclusion by groups, etc. Another reason is associated with the rise of electronic social media. People seem to be inclined towards portraying themselves as the ‘ideal’ prototype of their age and gender. Such portrayal can lessen their confidence to face the real situations with a real them.
Also, due to extreme externalization and materialization hardly if any attention is given to the self esteem of any individual. As the child grows up he sees himself always on a competitive chart with someone on some parameter or the other. The competition has made youngsters cruel and non inclusive and groups often ‘accept’ those who would follow the leader. This dents the self esteem of those who neither follow, nor command, neither stand out nor blend. And they are further forced towards proving themselves on some competition or other. Such factors often develop social anxiety coming from a fear of rejection and ridicule.
The good news is that these conditions are well known and those willing to come out of it can be successfully helped by various therapies and counseling and in extreme cases by medication.
In cases of Social Anxiety particularly online therapy and online counseling is very effective. Especially in the initial stages when the person is not willing to see a counselor in her office due to his anxiety.
Many people with chronic social anxiety develop depression and need to be treated for the same. Depression therapy is now very well established and a combination of methods can be used. Many a times starting with treatment of depression can encourage the person to move further with anxiety therapy too.
Whether you are comfortable with in office or online depression and anxiety counseling and therapy, the important factor is to ask for help.  



Pravin Joshi 07 August 2018

Perception has always been there , but so explicit analysis and interpretation of the issue called ' Social Anxiety ' I have read for the first time ! Wonderfully detailed .

Shabina Hussain 01 August 2018

Very well explained the dimensions of social anxiety

Sonica bahute 01 August 2018

I am suffering from sever anxiety and headache pls help me to come out from this problem

LRGupta 31 July 2018

Excellent example to treat social anxiety by renowned DrSapna Sharma

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