The holiday season is an exciting time of year filled with family, friends, gift-giving, and fun activities. While these events generally bring joy, it can be difficult for people with social anxiety disorder during the holidays.
Since there are so many large gatherings around the holiday season, socially anxious individuals may need additional support and help throughout this time. Learn how you can be there for a loved one with social anxiety disorder around the holidays.
Also known as “social phobia,” social anxiety disorder applies to people who struggle in social situations or are uncomfortable when they’re in front of other people. This fear stems from their personal concerns that others will judge them for who they are, what they say, or what they do.
In general, individuals with social anxiety will avoid social scenarios altogether as a means of preventing these feelings.
As a chronic mental health condition, social anxiety disorder often comes up in a variety of situations such as:
- Spending time around people they don’t know
- Eating a meal with strangers
- Entering a room that is filled with people
- Being the center of attention
Many social anxiety disorder symptoms may confirm that a person is struggling with this condition. These can show in a handful of physical ways like sweating, trembling, rapid heartbeat, muscle tightness, or shakes. But in most instances, internal feelings are the more prevalent symptoms.
The most common signs of social anxiety are:
- Worries about embarrassing themselves in front of others
- Overanalyzing their social interactions after the fact
- Fear of going to a social event
- Inability to communicate or connect with strangers
- Always anticipating worst-case scenarios
- Avoiding social situations altogether
What causes social anxiety order around the holidays? The holiday season can be a time when social anxiety disorder reaches its peak.
It’s a season when people often gather in large groups for parties, family get-togethers, and other activities. These special occasions can be difficult to handle for those who have issues in social gatherings. People with social anxiety have a hard time in big groups, which makes it difficult to enjoy the holidays at times.
The main feelings that come up are that they’ll end up humiliating themselves by saying or doing something outside of what is considered the social norm. Many individuals have so much fear during these scenarios that they simply don’t go to holiday parties at all, whether it’s with their friends, their families, or at work.
Someone who is socially anxious will typically want assistance to overcome these feelings and fears. A good practice that may help is inviting a close friend to the same event and telling them about the anxious feelings. That individual could then offer support throughout the holiday season and help manage interactions during these situations.
Most friends and family members will gladly be this person of comfort and feel honored to know they’re trusted with these thoughts and feelings.
Beyond this support, a person who requires help with social anxiety disorder can turn to a trusted treatment program at Orange County Behavioral Health. They can get the assistance they need by reaching out to us at 949-900-8426 or 877-467-2223.