Are You Struggling with Social Anxiety Disorder This Holiday Season?

Dec 12, 2023
Are You Struggling with Social Anxiety Disorder This Holiday Season?
Most people find the holidays stressful: You interact with family members, travel, go to work parties, and need to choose the perfect presents. If your social anxiety disorder kicks in extra hard for the holidays, give yourself the gift of relief.

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) usually starts in childhood or adolescence. Without treatment, it lingers into adulthood, and its symptoms may become debilitating. 

About 7% of women and men in the United States struggle with SAD each year. More than 12% of adults have had at least one episode in their lifetimes.

When you have SAD, holidays pose an extra challenge. Your routine is completely upended by the demands of the season. Your work has parties. Your child’s school has parties. Your friends and relatives have parties.

Then there’s the travel, the potential for catching viruses, the stress of family dynamics, etc. Added to that, you may feel pressured to host events yourself, wear the perfect outfit and give the perfect gift.

You may wish you could just hibernate until the New Year’s festivities end. But you also probably wish you could enjoy the season, without feeling hampered by your anxiety.

At Precise Research Centers in Flowood, Mississippi, our founder, Joseph Kwentus, MD, and our entire team want to help you feel less stressed during the holidays so you can enjoy them. These tips may make navigating the rounds of parties and events despite SAD just a little easier.

You don’t need to be perfect

All around you, people hustle and bustle to create a happy holiday season. Even if they don’t have SAD, they probably still feel stressed and overwhelmed. In fact, they’re so stressed and overwhelmed that they likely won’t notice any “mistakes” you make.

Take the pressure off yourself — and others — by allowing the holidays to flow as they will. You don’t have to attend every party or find the exact right outfit. Just enjoy as much as you can and, when you’ve had enough, make a graceful exit.

Focus on others

Knowing that others are anxious, too, can help you take the focus off yourself. Give someone a compliment, and watch how just a few simple words make them shine.

When you’re talking to others, you don’t have to worry about finding the “right” thing to say. Make eye contact (if you can!), smile, and try to ask them open-ended questions. People love to talk about themselves, and they appreciate your interest.

Avoid the alcohol

When you’re stressed and the punch bowl is within reach, it’s very tempting to take the edge off your anxiety by dipping into a sugary, alcohol-filled beverage. However, alcohol may only give you temporary relief

Alcohol and recreational drugs could also trigger a panic attack. It’s best to steer clear of alcohol and other mood-altering substances during the holidays. 

Plan ahead

If you want to avoid unhelpful “remedies” like turning to alcohol or sweets for relief at parties, take some time to plan ahead. Find out what the menu is at events so you can look forward to healthy treats.

Learn about building nonalcoholic drinks that make you feel festive without the danger of tipsiness. Even dropping a few strawberries in a glass of seltzer could give you the holiday spirit … without the spirits.

Build your dream team

Think about each event and who will be in attendance. Who among the crowd stands out as a special friend or support? 

Reach out ahead of time to those you can rely on for fun, stress-free conversation. You may find that they’re as relieved as you are to have a buddy for navigating holiday madness. 

Give yourself the gift of relief

At Precise Research Centers, we enroll eligible women and men in trials for new medications that help take the edge off SAD. At no cost to you, you’re able to be the first in line to find out if these medications help you, while at the same time receiving free talk therapy and support.

Instead of worrying about the perfect gifts for friends and family, give yourself the gift of support and relief. Call us for a diagnosis and evaluation for SAD at 601-685-3457 or book an appointment online today. 

You can also send a message to our team on the website. There’s no cost associated with being in a clinical trial.