Everyone with an Anxiety Disorder has a different experience. Each unique case involves different symptoms, challenges, and causes. However, there are some Anxiety trends that mental health professionals pay attention to. One such trend is the rise in Social Anxiety Disorder cases. Why are there more cases of Social Anxiety today? What does this mean for mental health professionals, Licensed Clinical Psychologists, and their patients? Learn about risk factors, diagnostic trends, and more with this overview.
There are many potential causes of Social Anxiety Disorder. Some of these risk factors—such as a family history of Anxiety, trauma, prior adverse experiences, or negative experiences during childhood—are common among all Anxiety Disorders. For example, many adults with Social Anxiety experience teasing or bullying as a child, which feeds into their intense fear of social situations and rejection from their peers. Many have been a victim of insecure attachment by primary or secondary caregivers in childhood– subjected to childhood neglect, abandonment, or abuse.
However, more risk factors might contribute to a rise in Social Anxiety cases. Modern events and technology impact people in ways society hasn’t dealt with before, creating new risk factors and challenges for individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted daily life across the world. Everyone faced sudden, drastic changes to their daily routines, from staying home, and not being certain about the future, to dealing with mask mandates in schools, not being able to attend churches or visiting loved ones in the hospital, economic uncertainties, and new social rules in public. The pandemic created a lot of stress for countless people, but for those with Social Anxiety Disorder, some of the stress stems from re-entering social activities after many months of being scared of close proximity to their loved ones or friends.
Social distancing and other habits stemming from the pandemic allowed individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder to avoid public spaces and situations that trigger their anxiety. Facing these same situations, post-pandemic causes those intense feelings of fear, nervousness, and worry to return in full force.
Social media has an unignorable presence in our society. While there are some benefits to social media, it also negatively influences mental health. As a result, social media is part of why there are more cases of Social Anxiety today.
In kids and adolescents, social media can be a platform for cyberbullying, peer pressure, and harmful media influences, such as unattainable beauty standards. For adults, social media is often a source of stress, unrealistics expectations, unnatural competitive drive, unhealthy comparisons, and negative news from around the globe. For teens and adults, these influences culminate in lower self-esteem, increased fear of judgment or social rejection, and higher overall anxiety.
Less Stigma, More Diagnoses
It’s important to note that a rise in Social Anxiety Disorder cases does not necessarily mean the disorder itself is more common. Today’s society is much more open about mental health discussions than it has been in the past. While mental health stigma still exists, more and more people are willing to talk about mental health and seek treatment for their Mental Health Disorders. This willingness to talk about and seek treatment for mental health issues results in a higher number of diagnoses for Social Anxiety Disorder and other psychological diagnoses.
Anxiety Treatment for a Modern World
Finding professional help in today’s busy world isn’t always easy, but a Licensed Clinical Psychologist has the expertise, professional training, formal education, and objectivity to treat your Social Anxiety Disorders. Dr. Blair and her team of expert professionals have the experience to treat Anxiety Disorders using the latest evidence-based treatment models. Dr. Blair is an Anxiety Psychologist who uses concierge-style treatment to create tailored and customized modalities to fit your specific symptoms and personal experiences. Reach out to Blair Wellness Group today to learn more about treatments for Social Anxiety and start your journey toward better mental health.