You want to have a fun and vibrant social life in Manhattan (NYC). But Social Anxiety keeps getting in the way. Social Anxiety includes symptoms such as
- Avoiding social situations.
- Fear of acting in an embarrassing or humiliating way.
- Fear that other people will see you as stupid or inadequate.
- Excessive worry.
- Constant fear of rejection.
- Irritability and feeling on edge.
How does anxiety work?
Anxiety is like a signal in our bodies that gets us ready for “Fight or Flight” and take action against a real or perceived threat. We know that when anxiety is at a moderate, optimal level, it’s actually performance enhancing. But when we get too anxious, we avoid ("flight"), become irritable and argumentative ("fight"), or if it becomes too overwhelming, we freeze up.
Social Anxiety is what happens when we treat other people and social situations like a constant threat we need to avoid. We use avoidance to manage our social anxiety, and in our minds that’s how we project ourselves from rejection. Some examples include:
- Making excuses to avoid social situations.
- “Flaking” on people at the last minute.
- Avoiding picking up the phone and replying to e-mails/texts. When you try to respond you rehearse what you'll say for hours.
- Using work to keep yourself from going out.
What we don’t realize, though, is that anxiety is biologically self-limiting. In other words, it can go down on its own. But if we keep avoiding things that make us anxious, we actually become more sensitive to anxiety, so that even things that didn’t bother us before start to get overwhelming. Anxiety starts to take over your life.
How does therapy for social anxiety help?
Therapy gives you the tools to draw on your body's built-in, natural remedy to manage your anxiety. I'll help you approach the situations that make you anxious, challenge your worrisome thoughts about other people, and reduce your need to use avoidance to cope. You'll build tolerance for your anxiety, so that it's less and less overwhelming.
We call this process exposure and desensitization, and it’s at the heart of different evidence-based therapies for anxiety.
I offer a variety of treatment options to help you change how you think about yourself in social situations, face your anxiety, and communicate with others more effectively. That way, you can start to get out there and live your life again.
Social Anxiety, like other anxiety disorders, is treatable and responds well to a tailored treatment. However, without treatment, it can have a longer lifetime prevalence.
I know reaching out can be overwhelming, but don't let anxiety keep holding you back. If you're in Manhattan (NYC) and are looking for help, make an appointment to treat your Social Anxiety today.