What is social anxiety disorder?
People suffering from social anxiety are often insecure about themselves and are afraid that others will have a negative opinion of them. Because of this, they tend to avoid social situations. If the anxiety persists for a long time and controls the person's life, then it is considered to be a social anxiety disorder.
Specific and general social anxiety
'Specific social fear' is when someone is afraid of one particular situation, such as 'speaking in front of the class', for example. 'General / generalised social anxiety' is when someone is afraid of all kinds of situations involving people, for example, he /she has a fear of starting a conversation, meeting someone, using the phone, and / or eating in a restaurant. General social anxiety is more common than specific social anxiety.
Young people and social anxiety
Young people are often very concerned with the image that others have of them, and how they come across to others. People with social anxiety have this to an extreme degree. They are constantly afraid of being perceived as strange or odd, or they are afraid of their own reactions to situations, for example, they worry about blushing, shaking or sweating. Because of this, they try to avoid social situations. They often dread going to school or work. By avoiding these situations, they could develop a 'fear of the fear', which could result in a circle of fear that is difficult to break.
Characteristics and symptoms of social anxiety
Social anxiety involves both physical symptoms and mental tensions, including the following:
- Palpitations, sweating, chills;
- Tremors / shaking;
- Tightness, an uncomfortable feeling in the chest;
- Tingling and / or numbness in the hands and / or feet;
- Blushing, being at a loss for words;
- Dry mouth, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhoea;
- Derealisation (the feeling that the environment looks different);
- The feeling of losing control of oneself;
- Feeling worthless.
Young people can be ashamed that they experience so much fear and that they do not know how to deal with it properly. They are also afraid that others will notice their symptoms. This exacerbates their fear, making them feel totally powerless, and / or it may result in a panic attack.
Treatment of social anxiety
At Yes We Can Youth Clinics, we help young people, whom we call 'fellows', to overcome their social anxiety and learn to live and function in society again in a meaningful and fulfilling way. We are available 24/7 to help, support, motivate and confront the fellows, where necessary. Warmth, unconditional acceptance and trust are key factors during treatment and also during our aftercare programme.
Group sessions, family coaching and counselling and daily sports and outdoor activities are important components in the treatment of social anxiety and any other problems that the fellows have. Together, the treatment team and the fellow set personal goals, using a step-by-step approach. This includes having one-on-one sessions with their regular therapist, giving feedback to each other during group sessions, and participating in sports and games in a creative way. The regular therapist has consultations with the other care professionals, such as psychiatrists, youth coaches, counsellors and the medical staff, three times a day. This ensures that all care professionals always know how the fellows are doing.
Social anxiety therapy also consists of cognitive therapy, social skills training and task concentration training. We also use group and individual exercises to teach the fellows how to break patterns. We help them live in the moment and focus on what they are doing instead of worrying.
Social anxiety and medication
The fellow may have previously been prescribed medication, such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), for this condition. At Yes We Can Youth Clinics, our objective is to treat 'the real person', namely, the person who is not under the influence of medication. That is why we try to reduce any medication that the person is already taking to zero or to as little as possible.
The safe climate at Yes We Can Youth Clinics, the positive environment and the entire treatment team that is present 24/7 to support, motivate and confront the young people, where necessary, all ensure that the withdrawal of medication is usually successful. Even once the fellow has left the clinic and continues to work on his / her recovery, medication is often hardly necessary anymore, if at all.
Yes We Can Youth Clinics can effectively treat teenagers and young adults who are suffering from a wide variety of mental health issues. If you have any questions, any at all, you can always contact us. We cannot stress enough that we are always there for you, whether you sign up for a treatment in our clinic or not. You can reach us by phone from Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (GMT +1) via phone number: +31 (0)85 02 01 222. After business hours – weekdays after 6:00 p.m. and on the weekends – your call will be forwarded. Please note that it might take longer than usual to answer your call. If we cannot answer the call right away, please leave a message and we will call you back as soon as possible. You can also fill in our contact form.
Register for an intake interview
Would you like to register a teenager or young adult (aged 13-25) for a treatment at Yes We Can Youth Clinics? Please fill in our intake form and we will contact you to schedule a personal intake interview.Intake form