5 Common Misconceptions About Social Anxiety

While most people tend to feel some anxiety when faced with new and unfamiliar people, those with social anxiety disorder experience these feelings much more. In some cases, the resulting fear and stress can be debilitating. 

Even for those who don’t struggle with social anxiety daily, keeping up to date on what it entails can be beneficial in the long run. Here are five common misconceptions about social anxiety that you should know about before reading or listening to anything else about it.

1. People with Social Anxiety are Antisocial

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about people with social anxiety. The opposite is often true. Many people who are diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder also have a diagnosis of generalised anxiety disorder. Although they are different, they share many common traits, including a tendency to feel more comfortable being alone than around others. 

People with social anxiety are often amiable and crave companionship but are worried about letting others get too close to them. They may also worry about allowing their true self to show through, which is another reason they prefer to be around others instead of alone. 

2. People with Social Anxiety are Shy

While it can be true that people who have social anxiety are also shy as children, this is not always the case. Many people are shy when they are young and overcome it as they age. However, those with social anxiety tend to remain that way once they’re adults. 

While shyness and social anxiety can overlap, shyness is a much milder condition that can typically be treated with self-help strategies. Social anxiety, however, is a legitimate mental health disorder that can be extremely difficult to manage. 

3. It is Embarrassing to have Social Anxiety

While you may feel silly or ashamed for having social anxiety, it is essential to remember that it is a genuine mental health disorder. Social anxiety is the third most common mental illness in the world! While it may be embarrassing to tell others about your condition, it is important to do so if you seek help. 

Many therapists and psychologists treat people with social anxiety so they don’t have to feel ashamed of what they are experiencing. Social anxiety is a treatable condition, just like most other mental illnesses. You can learn how to manage your symptoms with the help of a therapist who may recommend medication alongside therapy. 

4. You can only Treat Social Anxiety with Medication

While medication can benefit some people, it is not the only treatment option. Some people with social anxiety may not be good candidates for medication. Those interested in medication to manage their symptoms are advised to contact their doctor for a prescription. But keep in mind that drugs don’t work for everyone. 

They may be able to help you with your symptoms, but they may not be a good fit for you. Some people with social anxiety only need lifestyle changes to feel better. Getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, and practising mindfulness are all lifestyle changes that can help with social anxiety. 

5. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the Best Treatment for Social Anxiety

While cognitive behavioural therapy is a very effective treatment for social anxiety, it isn’t recommended for everyone. There are many other treatments for social anxiety, such as exposure therapy, social skills training, and mindfulness. The best treatment for social anxiety is the one that works for you as an individual.