Social Anxiety and the Holidays
Social Anxiety Disorder affects roughly 12% of the population in the United States, according to the NIH, the National Institutes of Health. And roughly 20% of individuals diagnosed with SAD experience addiction and other negative coping methods. The impacts of the current pandemic has certainly led to increased anxiety for all individuals regarding our social interactions. Statistics compiled in the coming years will most likely reflect the impact of Covid-19 and whether more individuals with a predisposition to the mental disorder find themselves on that spectrum.
Generally, the holiday season requires more social interactions as we gather together to celebrate with family, friends and co-workers throughout the closing months of the year. This year we will likely see a reversal of that trend, however, as the lack of social interactions due to the pandemic will increase sentiments of loneliness, sadness and anxiety tied to our lack of agency. Still, individuals diagnosed with social anxiety disorder face a different set of factors. Therapists would do well to discuss how the changes in how we interact virtually has either increased or alleviated the anxiety that their patients experience. A Zoom meet-up could be more anxiety provoking for some. But it can be more manageable than face to face interactions for others given the ability to participate without being seen.
Despite how different this holiday season may be, the close of the year brings many types of holiday events that pose challenges. Yet, there are steps that you can take to minimize feelings of anxiety if you are among the thousands of individuals that have been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder.
Step 1 – Prepare yourself ahead of time. If you know the type of group setting that you will encounter, whether it be a holiday gathering or a family dinner for example, try to prepare yourself for the types of interactions that you might experience. If you know that there will be a large group of attendees, perhaps limit your time at the event or arrive early so that there are fewer people to greet initially. Enlisting the help of a friend or family member who you trust, beforehand, can help provide a buffer from uncomfortable interactions or be a source of comfort.
Step 2 – Control your breathing. Be aware of how a specific interaction may raise your anxiety level and take a break to calm yourself through controlled breathing exercises and positive self-talk. Practicing various forms of muscle relaxation and breathing techniques can help release tension and keep you calm.
Step 3 – Take the focus off of yourself. A source of social anxiety is the fear of judgement and risk of humiliation. If you can take the focus away from your negative thoughts and instead listen to others more intently while in conversation, then you can put more energy into asking questions that help you stay focused on what they are saying rather than on your own thoughts of what others might be thinking. This can help minimize misreading body language or misinterpreting what someone has said.
Ketamine Health Centers seeks to provide relief for individuals who suffer from anxiety of all types. Whether due to increased social anxiety or the depression that may set in due to the lack thereof, Ketamine infusion therapy has a proven record of effectively reducing anxiety overall.
Numerous studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that Ketamine infusion therapy is far more effective at treating anxiety than more traditional methods of talk therapy or psychopharmacological approaches. As stated often, a multifaceted approach to treatment is always more effective. Contact us this holiday season to learn more about the many services we provide that offer relief for anxiety and other mental health disorders that tend to intensify during this time of year. Our clinics throughout Florida provide telemed services to help us interact with you despite the challenges posed this year. We are committed to providing exceptional service and care.