Social anxiety can bring a lot of distress in people’s lives. For teens, the gravity of social anxiety can be magnified as they’re subjected to constant social interaction and performance in school, while still having to navigate the complexities of being a teen. Therapeutic outlets such as Los Angeles teen support groups can help improve the lives of teens suffering from social anxiety.
What is social anxiety?
Social anxiety disorder (SAD), or social phobia, is the fear of social situations including interactions with people and performance situations, and the fear of being judged by others. It is the third most common mental health disorder. The disorder affects about 7% of the population, including 5% of teens. And it can be chronic and last a lifetime if not treated by psychotherapy.
Signs of SAD
While some people may feel shy in certain situations or have stage fright or have a fear of public speaking, social anxiety goes beyond more common feelings of social discomfort–it’s a state of debilitation in people’s everyday existence.
The disorder can be overlooked as it’s assumed that teens are just going through an awkward stage or don’t want to involve themselves with certain people for fear of how they fit in. Some things to look out for when identifying SAD include: passivity, quietness, refusal to speak, shyness, withdrawn personality, avoidance of eye contact, drooping head, crossing arms, constant feeling of embarrassment, and displaying of nervous habits like fidgeting. Other behaviors in school that are telling signs of SAD include: not raising hand, sitting alone during lunch or after school, fear of asking for help, lack of volunteering to be in the spotlight, and even dropping out of school. Additionally, a teen with SAD may not make plans with people, have few friends, speak softly or mumbles, and reveals little about themselves. For most teens with SAD, the anxiety interferes with their ability to make friends, participate in extracurricular activities, and do well in school which leads to their self-esteem taking a hard hit as well as loneliness. Therefore, Los Angeles teen support groups are a great method of intervention.
How therapy helps
It’s unknown why people suffer from SAD but it’s believed that genetics, environment, biological factors, the brain, and society are at play. Although it’s impossible to peg the exact root cause for SAD, psychotherapy can help people coexist with themselves and the world they fear.
Treatments including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), teen support groups, family therapy, experiential therapy, and if needed, medication, for SAD works toward alleviating anxiety and providing coping capabilities. In a Los Angeles teen support group, teens dealing with SAD will meet regularly for structured sessions where they will be asked many questions by therapists about their symptoms, encouraged to role play, and actively listen. This group therapy will allow teens to develop their communication skills and build up their self-esteem, as well as build bonds with others. People with SAD are also more likely to develop substance abuse issues as an escape from their anxiety and irrational fears. So, a teen support group and substance prevention program can help keep kids from turning to drugs and alcohol when they feel helpless from their social anxiety. Call (888) 295-9995.