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social anxiety

Social anxiety and shyness can appear to be somewhat similar. Shy people tend to be uncomfortable in crowds or in opening up to others. People dealing with social anxiety may appear somewhat shy or introverted. They may appear quiet or withdrawn. Whereas shyness may be a personality trait, social anxiety may have been triggered by traumatic experiences. Someone who was once outgoing and gregarious might be finding that they now struggle with social situations. They begin to feel anxious and nervous about going to crowded spaces or participating in social events. The anxiety that they are experiencing may be diminishing their quality of life as they are now avoiding social obligations or everyday tasks involving people. 

Social anxiety may be due to an overactive nervous system caused by trauma. When a person has an overactive nervous system, they become sensitive to stimulation and may become overwhelmed easily. Crowded rooms, public spaces, or even gatherings with friends can be highly stimulating. Our brains are processing information from the noise of crowds or from the conversations we are engaging in. We may begin to feel anxiety as our threshold for stimulation is maxed out due to feeling on high-alert constantly. Trauma can cause us to feel edgy and overstimulated in social or public situations. Adding an amount of extra sensory input from the environment can be too much. By addressing the underlying causes of our social anxiety, like trauma, we can begin to calm our nervous system and keep it from overloading among groups of people.


Social anxiety can be difficult to deal with. We may feel as though we cannot be around other people and begin to withdraw from friends and social obligations. Social anxiety can affect our ability to work or lead fulfilling social lives. We may begin to feel lonely and isolated, yet unsure of what to do to manage our symptoms. Avoiding situations due to social anxiety is not about avoiding people–it is a negative way of dealing with our anxiety. Avoiding the anxiety caused by overstimulation in crowds is what our true motivation is. If we are feeling anxious in social situations due to past experiences of trauma, we are dealing with nervous systems that are over-reactive. By learning to calm our nervous systems to be in less of a high-alert state, we can begin to tolerate social situations again. Dealing with underlying issues of trauma can be difficult, but you are not alone! The Guest House is here to help. Call us today at (855) 483-7800 to begin your trauma work!