Do you struggle with anxiety on a regular basis—particularly anxiety induced by social situations? Well, you’re not alone. Experts have found that one in ten people are affected by social anxiety at some point during their lifetime.
“Social anxiety disorder is diagnosed if fears and anxiety in social situations significantly impair everyday life and cause intense suffering.” Most commonly, this type of anxiety is provoked when an individual is asked to speak in front of a crowd.
A new study from the University of Zurich found that individuals who suffer from social anxiety disorder have difficulty regulating emotions due to impaired function of the frontal and lateral areas of the brain.
This may seem scary, but don’t despair! The results of this study showed that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has the ability to rewire the brain and foster healthy functioning in those areas of the brain involved with emotional regulation. CBT utilizes techniques such as self-observation, role plays, or video recordings, that enable alternative viewpoints to be developed.
Through the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, researchers “were able to show that structural changes occur in brain areas linked to self-control and emotion regulation,” In particular, the results of this study indicated that “Psychotherapy normalizes brain changes associated with social anxiety disorder.”