Home Mental Health & Well-Being When It’s More Than Shyness: Expert Advice on How to Combat Social Anxiety

When It’s More Than Shyness: Expert Advice on How to Combat Social Anxiety

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Social anxiety is a fast-growing phenomenon which is thought to affect young people disproportionately. Some reports claim up to 80% of university students regularly experience social anxiety, which is more common in women than men. While social anxiety can feel overwhelming, several effective ways exist to overcome it.

To put it simply, social anxiety is a fear of social situations. This anxiety might pop up when you have a job interview, speak publicly or meet someone important. Doing everyday things, such as eating or drinking in front of others, using a public restroom, or even switching on your camera during online meetings, may also cause anxiety or fear due to concerns about being humiliated, judged, and rejected.

Symptoms can manifest physically or psychologically, causing nausea, trembling or dizziness, and intense worry and anxiety leading to social interactions.

Interestingly, experts suggest that increased cases of social anxiety may be a lasting legacy of the Covid pandemic. Anxiety UK operation’s director, Dave Smithson, comments: “Although society is almost ‘back to normal,’ many people have been left with new anxiety triggers, particularly in a social setting. Things most people used to do daily, such as getting public transport, talking to strangers, making small talk with work colleagues, and seeing old friends, have become anxiety-inducing for some.”

Unfortunately, your body can’t differentiate between different types of threats, so it responds to a perceived social threat like it was programmed to respond to a physical threat: by triggering your fight or flight response. This means your body releases hormones to increase your heart rate, oxygenate your blood and tense your muscles. To avoid such an unpleasant response, a person with social anxiety might start making excuses or reasons to avoid situations that create anxiety.

While this might seem sensible, avoiding these situations is counterproductive. It stops you from learning that they’re not dangerous and reinforces the anxiety these situations create. So, what can you do?

To combat general feelings of social anxiety and help prevent it from developing into a life-long condition, symptoms should be addressed as and when they arise. An appropriate healthcare professional, such as your GP, can support you in finding the best treatment for you, including prescribing anti-anxiety medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) paroxetine, for severe cases.

Alternative options are available for those with mild to moderate symptoms. Self-help measures, such as challenging negative thoughts, can be an effective treatment for those living with anxiety, alongside professional support and clinically proven herbal remedies.

Dave Smithson comments: “The number of the people in the UK using drugs to combat anxiety is soaring, driven by major increases among women and young adults, new research shows. Here at Anxiety UK, we recognise that anxiety affects people differently, and not all experiences or symptoms warrant taking this type of medication.

“As such, we welcome a range of treatment and support options. Seeing a therapist who offers cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), compassion focussed therapy (CFT), or other supportive therapies for anxiety can help. You may also wish to consider using proven herbal remedies such as pharmaceutical grade lavender oil, found only in Kalms Lavender, that has been shown to relieve anxiety.”

More than 15 clinical trials suggest that uniquely prepared, pharmaceutical-quality lavender oil – which can be taken in a one-a-day capsule – can significantly reduce both physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety, with benefits evident after just two weeks. 

The results are comparable to the effects of commonly used anti-anxiety medications, including SSRIs, without risk of sedation, addiction or interaction with other medications. 

The anxiety-relieving effects of uniquely prepared, pharmaceutical-quality lavender oil are available only in Kalms Lavender One-A-Day Capsules.

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