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Social anxiety is different for each person, and may manifest itself in different ways. Below is the diagnostic criteria.
In the past it was required that the person with anxiety recognize that it is out of proportion to the triggering event, but with the most recent diagnostic change, only the clinician needs to see this.
Social anxiety is treated in a variety of ways.The model I use approaches amxiety from the perspective of how your beliefs effect your behaviors.
People with social anxiety believe they are inadequate, don’t have appropriate skills or that people will judge them, and these beliefs are usually false.
Fear of physical symptoms
People with anxiety also believe that something bad will happen when they have feelings of panic or discomfort caused by anxiety, when they will not. They believe that they cannot handle the uncomfortable feelings. This is not true.
In turn people who have anxiety engage in avoidance behaviors that make them feel comfortable in the short term but worsen their anxiety in the long term. Once you understand this cycle you can make different choices.
Therapy for social anxiety focuses on:
Therapy may require behavioral exercises, developing a hierarchy of your fears, breathing exercises, and journaling to examine your thoughts and behaviors. It can be uncomfortable and challenging at times. Medication may also be suggested as it can be an effective adjunct for therapy.
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