Is It Normal That I Have No Social Life?
You notice that everyone else is going out with their friends on the weekends except you. In fact, you never seem to go anywhere and do not really have any close friends. You have acquaintances and people you talk to at work but nobody that you actually go places with. The truth is, you have no social life at all and you do not even know why. You may have social anxiety disorder.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is one of the main reasons that you avoid others or they avoid you. Social anxiety disorder is being afraid of interacting with others because you are afraid of being negatively judged and evaluated. This disorder can make you so self-conscious that you act strange when you try to talk to others. For example, if someone comes up and talks to you at work and you are uncomfortable, you may start saying weird things or shaking and you do not even know why. You may not be able to look people in the eye or you may even turn around and leave to avoid the person. Why?
You do want to have friends but you are just afraid to be made fun of. This can affect you at work, school, and even at home. You cannot have a normal conversation with anyone without becoming paralyzed with fear. This is actually more common than you may think.
Approximately 15 million people in the United States have social anxiety disorder. The signs of social anxiety disorder include:
- Avoiding places where there are people
- Extremely scared that people will judge you
- Self-conscious around other people
- Scared to be with anyone
- Still posture, avoiding eye contact
- Feeling sick or nauseous if others come around you
- Blushing, sweating, shaking
- Rapid heart rate
- Mind going blank when you are asked a question
- Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
What Causes Social Anxiety Disorder
There is no clear cause of social anxiety disorder but some claim it may be hereditary similar to bipolar disorder and depression. Other experts believe it may be a disorder in the brain called overactive amygdala. This gives you an increased response to fear that will cause you to become overly anxious in social situations. It may also be caused by environmental issues such as dysfunctional family conflicts, mental or physical abuse, or being bullied. Another issue may be a chemical imbalance in the brain similar to what causes depression. Serotonin and dopamine are both responsible for mood regulation so any kind of imbalance can cause social anxiety.
You Can Get Help
One of the most effective ways to treat social anxiety disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of psychotherapy is aimed at breaking the link between cognition and behavior to help change the way you behave when you start to feel anxious. Your therapist would help you figure out coping behaviors that you can use when you start feeling anxious so you do not reach that point of no return.
If you do not have a therapist, you can talk to someone online who can help you with CBT or they can help you find a therapist in your area that you can talk to. There are other treatments that can help but you have to reach out to someone to get that help. For those with social anxiety disorder, this can be the most frightening thing there is. Luckily, there are websites where you can talk to a therapist online instead of face to face. There is hope, you just have to take that first step.