Social Anxiety: A closer look

In 2023, there’s much less stigma around mental health. This is great, as it means people are more comfortable discussing their mental health and seeking help when they feel like they need it.

One of the most common mental health problems today is social anxiety. From your average person in the street to big-name celebrities and influencers, it’s something that can affect anyone. Although it typically starts in childhood, the interesting thing about social anxiety is that it can appear in adulthood, too. For example, you might have had an anxiety-free childhood only to suddenly start suffering with social anxiety as you enter your twenties or thirties.

teenager girl sitting down desperate and worried

Can Social Anxiety Be a Symptom of Autism?

The simple answer is yes — social anxiety can be a symptom of autism. It’s important to remember that experiencing social anxiety from time to time is normal. However, if you have extremely strong and persistent social anxiety, then it can be an indicator that you have autism. In some cases, it could even be other conditions, such as ADHD.

To find out for certain, it’s recommended that you get an autism assessment. This way, you can discover whether your social anxiety is being caused by underlying autism, which is very common in both children and adults.

Social Anxiety: Symptoms

So, now that you’ve made it this far, you might be wracking your brain regarding social anxiety symptoms. Specifically, what are the symptoms, and what do they look like? Here’s a closer look:

  • Fear of social events (e.g., parties)
  • A dislike of talking to people
  • Confidence issues
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Panic attacks

Also, when someone is experiencing social anxiety, they will often feel unwell, start to sweat, and their heart will beat faster. Although these symptoms can be worrying, they’re not harmful and are simply your body’s way of reacting to the stress caused by your social anxiety.

Since childhood or the start of early adulthood, you might have always had a strong fear of social events. When you’re forced to attend these events, you start to experience symptoms, such as panic attacks and feeling unwell. This would be a telltale case of someone living with social anxiety, as (despite anxious feelings in social situations sometimes being normal) the social anxiety has reached a level where it’s gotten out of control.

 

Social Anxiety: Treatments

Thanks to modern advancements in medicine as well as greater research, healthcare professionals now have a much clearer understanding of what social anxiety is and how it works. As a result, they can provide better treatments to people who are living with it.

The two most common treatments for social anxiety are:

In a lot of cases, what will happen is that a doctor will diagnose the patient with social anxiety disorder before referring them to psychotherapy. If the psychotherapy doesn’t work, then the next step will be trying medication. Sometimes, medication will be introduced from the beginning, but this is entirely dependent on the individual.

If you suspect that you have social anxiety and want to do something about it, it’s recommended you speak to your healthcare provider. Remember, millions of people around the world live happy and normal lives despite having this condition, so there’s nothing to worry about. Good luck!

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