Nearly 15 million Americans have social anxiety, and it’s equally common among men and women.
In Tennessee, about 20% of the population struggles with mental health.
That can range from mood disorders to depression and anxiety.
What is it social anxiety?
Also called social phobia, social anxiety is more complicated than just feeling nervous or faint at the thought of public speaking, for example. It’s defined as intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated or rejected in a social or performance situation, such as at work or school.
What are the symptoms of social anxiety?
While social anxiety usually manifests in teenage years, it can affect people of all ages. It isn’t confined simply to shyness or difficulty engaging in small talk or eye contact. People with social anxiety:
- Often worry about appearing anxious or being seen as stupid, awkward or dull.
- Feel nervous or distressed before and during social situations.
- Experience strong physical symptoms, such as a rapid heart rate and sweating.
- May avoid social or performance situations altogether.
Although sufferers often recognize that their fear is excessive or unreasonable, people may feel powerless against their anxiety. Job offers may be declined, evenings out may be skipped and opportunities may be missed to meet new people and try new things. And despite the availability of effective treatments, fewer than 5% of people with social anxiety seek treatment.
How do you know if you have social anxiety?
You may have social anxiety if you experience any of these symptoms frequently in social or performance situations:
- Rapid heart rate
- Stomach issues
- Inability to catch your breath
If you experience these symptoms consistently, therapy or medication may help. Some people respond to treatment after a few weeks, while others may need more than a year to feel a change.
The best thing to do if you think you might be at risk is to talk to your doctor for a diagnosis.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.