The Anxiety Treatment Clinic of Atlanta provides Social Anxiety treatment that gets results. We utilize the latest science to help people overcome social anxiety and live a full life.
What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety is the excessive fear of being negatively evaluated. People with social anxiety feel they will be humiliated or embarrassed in social situations. Social anxiety often has both physical components (e.g. sweating, blushing, trembling) and cognitive components (e.g. belief that one is judged negatively; looking for disapproval). People with Social Anxiety avoid situations in which their actions are observed.
Some of the more common anxiety provoking situations include:
- public speaking
- dating or speaking with new people
- eating in front of others
- being in a group of people
- using a public restroom (fear of being heard or seen by others)
- talking on the phone
- writing in the presence of other people (e.g., signing name)
How Common is Social Anxiety?
Social Anxiety Disorder is a very common. It is the third most common mental disorder after depression and alcohol abuse. It affects approximately 13% of people at some point in their lives. Social Anxiety Disorder often begins around early adolescence or even younger.
Is There Effective Social Anxiety Treatment?
Effective psychological treatments are available to those who are suffering from this debilitating disorder. One of these interventions is cognitive behavior therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder. This social anxiety treatment focuses on changing the patient’s anxiety-provoking beliefs related to social situations and changing the way their body reacts to social situations. Social Anxiety treatment at the Anxiety Treatment Clinic usually consists of exposure to feared stimuli (e.g., speaking to new people) and revisiting thoughts about those fears. This treatment is difficult in that the person has to face his or her fears, but it is effective with almost 80% of people no longer qualifying for this disorder following treatment (see below for many articles on the effectiveness of the treatment we use). Our goal is to make the treatment work as quickly as possible, so that people can live their life to the fullest as quickly as possible. All of our therapists are extensively trained and continuously educated. We break the mold of traditional therapy by getting out of the office and into the situations that cause anxiety. We do all of this in a caring manner with high expectations for change.
How is Social Anxiety Disorder different from Shyness?
Social Anxiety Disorder is different from shyness. Shy people can be very uneasy around others, but they don’t experience extreme anxiety in anticipating a social situation, and they don’t avoid circumstances that make them feel self-conscious. In contrast, Social Anxiety Disorder disrupts normal life, and interferes with career or social relationships. For example, the person could turn down a job promotion because he can’t give public presentations or he might avoid dating because of intense fear.
People with Social Anxiety Disorder experience a great deal of dread before facing the feared situation, and they may go out of their way to avoid it. They usually feel very anxious beforehand (anticipatory anxiety) and are uncomfortable throughout the experience. Afterwards, they worry about how they may have been judged or what others may have thought or observed about them (post event processing).
Articles on the Effective Social Anxiety Treatments We Use
- Acarturk, C., Cuijpers, P., Van Straten, A., De Graaf, R., & others. (2010). Psychological treatment of social anxiety disorder: a meta-analysis. Psychological medicine, 39(2), 241.
- Aderka, I. M. (2009). Factors affecting treatment efficacy in social phobia: The use of video feedback and individual vs. group formats. Journal of anxiety disorders, 23(1), 12–17.
- Ledley, D. R., Heimberg, R. G., Hope, D. A., Hayes, S. A., Zaider, T. I., Dyke, M. V., Turk, C. L., et al. (2009). Efficacy of a manualized and workbook-driven individual treatment for social anxiety disorder. Behavior therapy, 40(4), 414–424.
- Rapee, R. M., Gaston, J. E., & Abbott, M. J. (2009). Testing the efficacy of theoretically derived improvements in the treatment of social phobia. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 77(2), 317.
- Rodebaugh, T. L., Holaway, R. M., & Heimberg, R. G. (2004). The treatment of social anxiety disorder. Clinical Psychology Review, 24(7), 883–908. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2004.07.007