Women's Health (UK) - - CONTENTS -

When so­cial anx­i­ety takes over

‘More than just angst about be­ing around peo­ple, so­cial anx­i­ety is an in­tense fear of be­ing crit­i­cised. We all feel anx­ious about be­ing judged from time to time, but when th­ese thoughts are con­stant, they be­come de­bil­i­tat­ing. One of the ways a psy­chi­a­trist can dis­tin­guish nerves from so­cial anx­i­ety is by how dis­tressed some­one gets about their feared sit­u­a­tion, phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally, and the ef­fect it has on their day-to-day life. They may need to be re­ferred for a talk­ing ther­apy to help man­age their dis­tress and, in some cases, may need med­i­ca­tion – of­ten in the form of an­tide­pres­sants – to help them cope.

Dr Sarah Vohra, NHS psy­chi­a­trist and author @the­mindmedic

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