Does Social Anxiety Hold You Back?

By: Dave Turo-shields, Acsw, Lcsw

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Author: Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSW
copyright: by Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSW
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Word Count: 631
Category: Self-Help

Does Social Anxiety Hold You Back?

In the "Anxiety Disorders" section of the manual entitled
"Diagnostic Criteria from DSM IV," which is used for the
diagnosis of mental health conditions, there are 12 anxiety
diagnoses covered.

The fifth, and what may appear to be a soft diagnosis, is Social
Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder). In contrast to "Posttraumatic
Stress Disorder," "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder" and "Panic
Disorder" this diagnosis may seem to be lighter than the rest.

Please don't be fooled by names or the sound of names or even
the fact that many of the others have achieved more press time.
Social phobia is a very real threat to the quality of life for
many individuals.

What is Social Anxiety Disorder? Glad you asked. Following is
a list of life areas impacted by social anxiety --

1. Meeting new people
2. Answering the door
3. Interacting with merchant clerks at banks, grocery
stores etc.
3. Setting appointments with doctor’s offices etc.
4. Attending church
5. Buying or returning items at retail outlets
6. Sick days where your anxiety has made you sick
7. Driving (fear other drivers looking at or thinking of

Paying at the gas station
9. Eating in front of other people
10. Signing your name in front of others
11. Attending or hosting social events
12. Dating
13. Talking in a small or large group
14. Expressing your opinion
15. Performance situations, such as playing on an athletic
team, singing in a choir etc.
16. May or may not have panic attacks
17. Fear of what others are thinking of you
18. Fear of being embarrassed or humiliated

Next is a general physical symptom list of the physical signs of
social anxiety --

1. Blushing
2. Sweating
3. Dizziness
4. Heart palpitations
5. Muscle tension
6. Dry mouth
7. Shaking
8. Nausea
9. Diarrhea
10. Headache

These are a few of the symptoms of social anxiety as experienced
in life areas and physically. Many folks have social anxiety
but do not realize that this is what they struggle with.
Oftentimes thinking about or engaging in any of the activities
listed above will induce anxiety.

The real danger with this disorder is that it can
subtly grow into a monster. Left unattended, social anxiety can
reshape the life that you should be living into one that is
centered around avoidance of anxiety. Some of you are aware
that you have anxiety and fight with it constantly. Many others
are not aware of anxiety as the culprit, even though it's
impacting all these life areas. That's powerful!

Ongoing social anxiety can result in developing a pattern of
avoidance, whereby you begin putting off many of life's
activities. Too often, you have only the best of excuses, but
if you suffer from social anxiety, it's really anxiety driving
your life's bus.

There are many keys in the overcoming of anxiety. At the top is
bolstering your self-confidence. Ironically enough, the more
withdrawn you become while feeing anxious and avoiding
activities, the stronger the social anxiety becomes.


1. Participate in activities which increase esteem and a
sense of personal safety

2. Establish an area of expertise or mastery and allowing
those abilities to be present in anxiety situations

3. Learn relaxation strategies that become serenity-hygiene

4. Challenge irrational thought patterns that support the

5. Keep an anxiety scale journal to chart goals and progress

6. Seek a caring individual to hold you accountable to your

7. Know that peace and anxiety cannot exist at the same
time. Any ritual which brings peace into your life is a
great tool to use to eliminate anxiety

8. Practice knowing that you are loved and have a right to
live a joy-filled life!

This is your life! If you find yourself angry over being
anxious, that's GOOD -- but only if you direct your anger at
anxiety and allow it to become an energizer in your efforts to
reclaim your life.


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