Many people ask themselves: am I socially anxious or introverted? Everyone experiences moments when they don’t want to interact with large groups of people. You just need time to wind down and recharge. However, if you find that you tend to prefer spending your time alone or in small groups, you’ve probably fielded more than a few questions surrounding your approach to socializing. Your family and friends may even worry that you have a form of social anxiety, but it is just as likely that you’re simply more introverted than others.

Am I Socially Anxious or Introverted?

Luckily, there are a few easy ways that you can determine whether or not you do experience social anxiety. If you do, we provide the best anxiety treatment Los Angeles has.

Examining the Underlying Emotion

True introverts without social anxiety take real pleasure in having large chunks of time to themselves. They tend to be relatively comfortable in social settings and reserve the ability to socialize for the moments that suit them. By sharp contrast, a person with social anxiety avoids social engagements out of fear. The truth is that many people with social anxiety are also naturally extroverted. They crave interaction with other people, but they are afraid of being judged, ignored, or unwelcome.

With your therapist in Beverly Hills, you can begin working against these patterns. As you do, you can take control over your life once more.

Nature vs. Nurture

The current theory, as it is understood by prominent psychologists, is that introverts are typically born. From childhood onward, introverts tend to find activities that allow them to enjoy the pleasure of their own company. These periods of isolation are mixed with regular, healthy social interaction that gives them the social skills they need. Therefore, an introvert without social anxiety has no fear of interacting with other people. If they say “no” to a party invitation, then it’s probably because they’d rather be reading a book in front of a nice fire that night.

Social anxiety is a learned behavior pattern. There are literally thousands of minor traumatic experiences that can lead to its manifestation, but it typically starts in childhood. Bullying is a common trigger for later social anxiety, but any repeated exposure to judgmental people or a lack of confidence-building exercises could result in social anxiety. When a person with social anxiety says “no” to a party invitation, they’re more likely to avoid the situation out of fear that they won’t fit in or be invited out of pity.

Determining When You Need Help

If you or someone you care about is a true introvert, then you just need to be left alone. Let your friends know that once you’ve recharged a little bit, you’ll be ready to socialize again. Introverts have their own way of balancing their personal needs, and it’s a perfectly healthy way of coping with the stresses of everyday life. On the other hand, someone with moderate to severe social anxiety might benefit from a little counseling.

Cognitive behavior therapy is a common treatment for people who struggle with social anxiety. It works by helping the patient to identify the thoughts that trigger their negative emotions. From there, they can begin to unpack those emotions. Their therapist walks the patient through those thoughts and emotions in order to help them see that there’s little to no logical basis. Over time, the patient’s belief that they are unwelcome or unwanted is challenged one by one. This helps to slowly re-build the patient’s confidence, allowing them to feel less anxious while interacting with other people. Of course, there are times when people can be judgmental, so cognitive behavior therapy also works to prepare patients for those circumstances while recognizing that they represent a small percentage of all interactions.

The Takeaway

Social anxiety is born of negative interactions and a lack of self-confidence. Cases are often mild to moderate, allowing the people affected to live very normal lives despite their anxiety. Fortunately, even the most severe cases are treatable. It just takes a little help and a lot of patience.

Social isolation has never been as prevalent as it is today. Staying at home is a joy for many, but it might not be the best for your mental health. We take a look at if isolation can cause social anxiety.

At Cognitive Behavior Associates, we provide services for the best cognitive behavioral therapy Los Angeles has to offer. Our goal is to help every patient grow and develop, especially during trying times.

Can Isolation Cause Social Anxiety?

We are quickly approaching a year of recommended isolation and social distancing. The economic costs splatter the news. But few people are taking the time to fully recognize the mental strain that we are all under. The separation from parents, siblings, and close friends has been hard. The general need to remove ourselves from practically all forms of social interaction may be even harder. We are a highly social species. And we have been asked to give up one of the core aspects of human life.

We recognize the necessity of isolation. And we care for the health of our fellow human beings. But there is no avoiding that it has come at a cost.

The Isolated Mind

Long before the average person had even considered the possibility of a pandemic, psychologists were already studying what isolation does to human beings. Alarmed by what appeared to be increasing rates of loneliness in American adults, researchers began to study the effects. One 2015 study found that people who felt isolated were more likely to smoke often and drink heavily. And this trend fits with current data coming from Americans in isolation this year.

Studies that pre-date the pandemic found that isolation often led to the development of depression and the associated sleep disorders. But what about social anxiety? In many ways, it makes sense that you may feel social anxiety as a result of isolation and depression. At its root, social anxiety thrives when we feel unsure of ourselves in a social setting. If we’re out of practice, it’s no wonder that anxiety sky-rockets.

Understanding Social Anxiety

Most people experience some level of social anxiety during their lifetime. It’s that nagging feeling you get in a room where you feel like others are judging you. Or it is that sense like you don’t quite fit in. It’s an uncomfortable ache. And in severe cases it can seriously inhibit a person’s ability to socialize.

There is still a lot of research to be done before we can definitively say what the effects of the pandemic are, but we have a start. Gyms have closed down. Grocery stores barely open. And barbers are on hold, so many of us don’t look our best at the moment. On top of that, there seems a growing push to act “more” productive despite the disruption of our lives. Just by talking to family and friends, we can see the change. More and more people are unwilling to go out when they can and shying away from others out of fear that they will be judged.

What is left is a population of people suffering from isolation and social anxiety, which can feel like an impossible situation. If this describes you or someone close to you, you deserve to know that it is okay to ask for help.

Finding the Help You Need

At Cognitive Behavior Associates, we use cognitive behavior therapy to treat a range of psychological disorders, including depression and social anxiety. We offer the best social anxiety treatment Los Angeles has around. It works by making the patient an integral part of their own recovery by helping them to recognize the stimuli that trigger the negative emotions they are experiencing. From there, the staff can work with you to see the correlation between the stimuli, your negative emotions, and what they are actually doing to you. This helps many patients to recognize the ways that they can replace negative thoughts with positive ones to improve their mental health overall.

However, the doctors at CBA also recognize that this is sometimes easier said than done. To help you while you’re working on reducing the frequency of negative thoughts, they will also help you to learn behavioral tricks to control or eliminate harmful behaviors. Even if you aren’t comfortable leaving your home due to being high risk, you can always arrange for a telepsychotherapy session to get started.