About seven percent of Americans are affected by social anxiety disorder, a mental illness in which a person feels uncontrollable fear during social situations.
These instances may range from answering a question in class to talking to a cashier at a grocery store.
Often, people with social anxiety disorder are afraid of being humiliated, judged or rejected, says the National Institute of Mental Health. Though the cause of social anxiety is not known, underdeveloped social skills and genetics are thought to contribute.
The agency recommends talking with a doctor if you have symptoms of social anxiety. After a diagnosis is made, psychotherapy, medication or both may be part of a treatment plan.
Help Your Child Cope with Back-to-School Jitters
Back-to-school season can be a time of stress for many kids — even in the best of times.
But pandemic fears add to the anxiety many kids will experience with the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, according to a child and adolescent psychologist at UConn Health in Farmington, Conn.
Here are some tips to help reduce back-to-school and pandemic-associated anxiety, stress and behavior issues:
- Keep calm: Parents need to lead by example. Slow down and give your family extra time in the morning so you aren’t anxious and rushed. Teach kids to take deep breaths to calm themselves.
- Start a healthy routine: A nutritious diet, exercise and good sleep are important. Children need a routine and a serene, structured schedule.
- Keep informed: Parents need to know what is happening with the COVID-19 virus. Consult trusted health organizations and your local school district. Don’t rely on social media alone.
- Be sensitive and keep kids in the know: Talk with your child and be tuned-in to their thoughts, concerns and feelings. Answer their questions. Kids should know what you know so there are no surprises that can cause frustration.
- Stay flexible: Avoid rigidity. Be aware of your child’s expectations.
- Talk with the teacher: Communicating with your child’s teacher is important during these unusual and challenging times. Avoid pushing your child too hard as it could add more stress.
- Look for warning signs: If your child’s mood or behavior changes, or their sleeping and eating schedule is off, talk it over. If necessary, seek professional help.