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8 Tips for Managing Social Anxiety Disorder and ADHD

19/03/2021
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Social Anxiety Disorder is often misunderstood in adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It gets perceived as shyness or being stuck up, yet it can hugely impact someone’s life. For anyone with adult ADHD symptoms combined with Social Anxiety Disorder, socialising may be a source of extreme anxiety. Many people have experienced an increase in anxiety due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, especially when we were prevented from socialising. Now we can socialise again, but not everybody is choosing to, or at least not in the same way as before the pandemic.

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

For well over a year, most people had limited contact with others due to periods of lockdown and safety restrictions as we have tried to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading. For some, it’s been incredibly difficult, while other people got used to it and quite liked it. As the restrictions have been eased, it’s been possible to reconnect with friends and family members. However, If you have ADHD combined with Social Anxiety Disorder, the idea of reuniting with people could be very nerve-wracking. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Being very self-conscious in front of other people, even those who know you well
  • Extreme fear that others will judge you negatively
  • Worrying for days or weeks before an event
  • Avoiding situations that require social interaction
  • Feeling intensely uncomfortable in social situations
  • Panic attacks when in a social situation; including shaking, blushing, nausea or sweating
  • Difficulty talking to others

Tips for Managing Social Anxiety Disorder
and ADHD

For well over a year, most people had limited contact with others due to periods of lockdown and safety restrictions as we have tried to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading. For some, it’s been incredibly difficult, while other people got used to it and quite liked it. As the restrictions have been eased, it’s been possible to reconnect with friends and family members. However, If you have ADHD combined with Social Anxiety Disorder, the idea of reuniting with people could be very nerve-wracking. Here are some tips to help you:

Take your time

Change is always challenging for ADHD adults and shouldn’t be rushed. Just because you can meet up with people again, doesn’t mean you should. Maybe try seeing just one person at a time to start with. Take it slowly and don’t be afraid to tell people you don’t want to rush into anything. They will understand. Remember that you don’t have to see anybody in an enclosed space either if this makes you uncomfortable.

Don’t compare yourself to others

It’s easy to look at social media and assume that everyone else is thriving. Here’s a reality check – they’re not. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that how people present themselves online is how they would like to be perceived. Photos show mere moments of a person’s life and don’t tell you what’s really going on behind closed doors. The last 18 months have been incredibly up and down for everyone, so don’t compare your life to how you think someone else’s life is.

Continue to take precautions

Wearing a facemask is no longer compulsory in most places, but if it lessens your anxiety, then there’s no reason why you can’t continue to wear one. You can also keep using hand sanitiser, take regular Covid tests and avoid busy places. Whatever you feel comfortable with is okay.

Don’t compare now to the past

Don’t spend time thinking back over past social situations where you’ve felt uncomfortable and imagining it happening all over again. Instead, focus on the present moment and the positive aspects of socialising. Even if you don’t want to talk much or be out for very long, you will enjoy seeing other people’s faces.

Focus on other people

Try to focus your energy on other people instead of staying inside your own anxious mind. How can you show them kindness and empathy? What questions can you ask them to show that you care? Remember, this situation has been difficult for everybody.

Focus on the present moment

Although we seem to be in a better position now than we were a few months ago, and we’d like to be optimistic, we don’t really know what the future effects of Coronavirus will be. By focusing on what is happening this week, or today or even right now, we can reassure ourselves that we are okay. Mindful meditation is a brilliant technique to help you to do this and is highly recommended as an ADHD treatment. At The ADHD Centre, we have a short online Essential Mindfulness course that includes the first lesson for free.

Remember the progress we have made

Now more than ever, people are aware of others’ mental health. If certain aspects of socialising terrify you, then tell someone. Remember other people will be feeling anxious too. The fear of Coronavirus is still very real among us and there are plenty of people who are reluctant to socialise, including those who don’t have ADHD or Social Anxiety Disorder. You might find that opening up to someone else about your worries leads to them doing the same.

Tell someone how you feel

Now more than ever, people are aware of others’ mental health. If certain aspects of socialising terrify you, then tell someone. Remember other people will be feeling anxious too. The fear of Coronavirus is still very real among us and there are plenty of people who are reluctant to socialise, including those who don’t have ADHD or Social Anxiety Disorder. You might find that opening up to someone else about your worries leads to them doing the same.

Covid Anxiety Syndrome

Someone who struggles with Social Anxiety Disorder may well be experiencing Covid Anxiety Syndrome too. Covid Anxiety Syndrome is a new term used to identify anxiety that has arisen directly due to the pandemic. It is brought on by a combination of isolation, fear about the virus and living with the uncertainty that comes with these difficult times. Someone suffering from Covid Anxiety Syndrome may feel too anxious to go out or will continue to live in isolation out of fear that they will come into contact with the virus. People with pre-existing mental health conditions and elderly people are the most at risk. Research suggests that as many as one in five of us may be experiencing Covid Anxiety Syndrome as we come to terms with reintegrating into society once again.

For some of us, the pandemic has changed our lives forever. It has certainly shown how resilient and adaptable we are. Throughout the current situation, people have reacted differently. Some people have not left their homes for over a year, while others have taken full advantage of any liberty they have been given. Everyone has their own reasons for how they have reacted. Other people have understood. Hopefully, one outcome of this unique set of circumstances will be us living in a more tolerant and understanding society.

If you or a loved one is struggling to cope with ADHD and Social Anxiety Disorder (or any other form of anxiety), please get in touch with us. As well as ADHD assessments and evidence-based treatment packages, we also offer ADHD Behavioural Coaching. Please click the following link to find out more about our coaching sessions. ADHD Centre Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

You can also contact us on 0800 061 4276  or by email at connect@adhdcentre.co.uk

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