The Truth About Social Anxiety

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“Acknowledge Anxiety” by Pranita Kocharekar is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Lilly Fatheree, Staff Writer

Social anxiety has been a serious problem for individuals all over the world Teens and young adults are more likely to experience social anxiety. Some fear getting help because they cannot stand the thought of having to speak to another individual. 

People who have social anxiety are aware that their anxiety acts in an irrational way and can spark at any given altercation. Some cases are so severe that they cannot leave their house unless it is a life or death situation. Other cases are not as severe, meaning that they get anxious but can still talk to other people. 

“Most kids would seem more anxious when around others, avoiding any form of social contact with strangers, fast heart rate, and probably shaking,” said Freshman Lara Adolphson.

For some, their social anxiety can be so severe that they would not be able to eat for days on end. Food may not seem appetizing to them or they might be so anxious that they physically can not eat. 

“People who have such severe anxiety to the point of not being able to eat can result in terrible things. If people do not eat, they can easily starve themselves to death which will hurt their friends and family” said 8th grader Kyndall Taylor. 

There are many possible reasons for mainly teens to experience some form of social anxiety. Some being Mass shootings, school stress, and bullying from peers. These are the type of issues that can be resolved but little to no change is happening.

“There are so many worldwide issues that are making teens anxious. All these shootings that are happening are reasonably making teens feel unsafe in public places, such as schools, grocery stores, and more,” said Adolphson.

A select few people with social anxiety feel like having an emotional service animal helps them and comforts them. Dogs and cats are the two most commonly used emotional support animals.

“For people with anxiety, I think that it is quite important that the individual has an emotional support animal because it may ease the person from being severely anxious and all in all make them feel safer,” said 2019 graduate Mae Fatheree.                                                                                                                                                    

When it comes to social anxiety, things that seem normal to others such as making eye contact, going to school/work, and starting conversations, are simple triggers for others and they feel like they need to go and hide from the outside world.

There is not one specific thing that causes social anxiety. People who have a parent that has social phobia, are more at risk to have it as well. Genetics are more likely to be a cause than anything else.

“People who have been physically, mentally, or verbally abused are more likely to be hiding from social life because they are afraid of being hurt by their abuser,” said Fatheree.

There are multiple ways that people with social anxiety can help themselves. Most people use medications such as Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil. To our knowledge, there are alternatives to using pills if someone is not comfortable with using them. 

“You can start small. Take the focus off yourself, try exercising or muscle relaxation, control your breathing, and use your senses,” said Taylor. 

Importantly, do not push anyone to do something they are clearly not comfortable doing. Be patient with them and do not take their actions personally, they can not help it.

“The more you push someone to do something, it is just making them feel worse. Give them time and space, it will mean a lot to them,” said Taylor.