Woman Describes Battle With Social Anxiety And Starts CBT

A Woman whose social anxiety drove her to a nervous breakdown has spoken about coping with the condition on The popular TV show This Morning.

Social anxiety disorder is a persistent and overwhelming fear of social situation and is one of the most common anxiety disorders. It is described as an intense fear over simple everyday activities and is a type of complex phobia, which often starts during childhood and is much more common in women.

Clare Eastman, who has written a book about her experiences called We’re All Mad Here, joined hosts Holly and Phil to explain how she dealt with her social anxiety.  She said she has suffered from the condition since she was young.

“I was so worried someone might draw attention to me in class. To me, that seemed normal. I ignored it. I could not tell anyone about it because people would think I was a freak.”

Clare said she went to university but problem still continued - despite finding it easier to cope in some situations by drinking alcohol. She graduated and got a job in a publishing company.  Clare added: “I had a panic attack. I felt like I was dying. My limbs were going numb. I ran all the way down the street.”

Holly Willoughby, a Presenter on This Morning, stated that Clare went to see her GP at home in Hull to get some help following the breakdown. “As soon as I saw my diagnosis I was relieved,” said Clare. “Treatment was medication. I don’t produce enough serotonin. I had CBT therapy.

“I didn’t realise I didn’t have to accept those things in my head. Exposure therapy is slightly more aggressive, but it has really helped me. “You might feel nervous, but it is just a trick." Claire, who got married this year, said she even had to practice walking down the aisle with her father to help prepare her for her big day.

People who experience anxiety often dread some everyday activities such as meeting strangers, talking in groups, speaking on the telephone, talking to authority figures, shopping, experience low self-esteem and fear being criticised.

Some people also misuse drugs or alcohol to reduce their anxiety.

Treatment for a social anxiety disorder can include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), supported self-help, antidepressants - especially SSRIs which increase the levels of serotonin

Join the conversation

* Indicates a required field