How the Holidays Impact Social Anxiety

Those who struggle with social anxiety disorder feel uncomfortable in large crowds or with people they don’t know. As a result, holiday celebrations become sources of frustration and anxiety. Office parties may spark fear, and even something as simple as meeting friends at a local restaurant may cause unusual levels of distress. In its simplest form, social anxiety is an intense, persistent fear of being judged by others and found lacking. While nobody wants to embarrass themselves in public, someone with a social anxiety disorder worries incessantly that this will happen. They worry about how they look, what they’ll say, and whether they’re smart enough or witty enough to participate.

If you don’t have social anxiety, it’s difficult to imagine how debilitating it can be. However, for those who suffer from this specialized anxiety disorder, leaving the house at all, especially during the holidays, may seem impossible. If you’re struggling with an addiction due to your social anxiety, our team can help. Contact Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge today at 844.442.8673 for more information.

What Causes Social Anxiety?

Scientists have identified several factors that may contribute to social anxiety, including:

  • Genetics
  • Having overprotective or overly critical parents
  • Overactive fear response in the brain
  • Shyness or timidity in childhood
  • An appearance or disability that draws attention

Someone who suffers from this mental wellness issue will often benefit from formalized anxiety treatment. Treatment may consist of behavioral health care, medication, or a combination of both. The family of medications that treat anxiety are benzodiazepines. Generally, these drugs work to calm your central nervous system and may make it easier to partake in social situations such as holiday get-togethers and workplace celebrations. Unfortunately, these medications are highly addictive, which may lead to a person needing addiction treatment.

Social Anxiety and the Holidays

Holidays can be stressful for everyone. But toss anxiety into the fray, and they may feel unbearable. There’s pressure to be happy, pressure to love and accept love in return, and pressure to spend money you may not have. Holiday parties bring attention to your wardrobe and social skills. They highlight your hairstyle, your weight, and what you’ve managed to accomplish in life. Therefore, it’s no wonder so many people are reluctant to join in the revelry.

Additionally, when you have social anxiety, each of these factors becomes magnified. Consequently, you may worry incessantly about every interaction. For instance, did you say the right thing? Were you witty enough? Are you being weighed and measured and coming up short? Most people worry about things like these to some extent. However, to those who need anxiety treatment, they take on more importance than necessary.

Tips for Managing Social Anxiety at Holiday Gatherings

Remember, it’s not necessary to attend an event simply because you were invited. It’s essential to take care of your mental health first. Consequently, if an event feels too overwhelming, it’s okay to bow out.

When you find yourself in a social situation this holiday season, use these tips to make the event more bearable:

  • Challenge negative thoughts.
  • Remind yourself that nobody can hear what you’re thinking.
  • Practice your breathing.
  • Keep something in your hands, such as a cup of soda, a plate of snacks, or even your purse.
  • Bring a friend to keep you company.
  • Be kind to yourself.

When your inner voice tells you that you look ridiculous, challenge it. Likewise, if you spill something, be as kind to yourself as you would to a friend who had done the same. In many instances, we are our own harshest critics. Be as nice to yourself as you would to a stranger, and then do what you can to make this change into a daily habit.

Anxiety Treatment at Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge

Find relief for social anxiety at Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge. Our faith-based treatment programs help you relearn the healthy coping skills and behaviors needed to heal from disorders such as social anxiety when they accompany addiction. We offer a range of services, including:

Contact us today at 844.442.8673 to speak with a compassionate representative regarding admission.

Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge This article is written by the experts at Adult and Teen Challenge PA, a faith-based treatment program that began  in 1962  as a way to help those young people and adults who struggle with addiction get the help they need.