Difference Between Introversion & Social Anxiety

Introversion And Social Anxiety

What Is Introversion? 

Introversion is a fundamental personality style identifiable by a penchant for the inner life of the mind over the outer world of other people. The term introversion was popularized by Carl Jung and suggests an inward orientation to one’s mental state. Introversion takes a pew on a gamut at the converse end of which is extroversion. When compared to extroverts, introverts take pleasure in a rather restrained and solitary experience. They are extremely sensitive, guarded in meting out information; and unrelenting in solving complex problems. They have a genetic temperament to yearning for solitude as it enlivens them to keep contact with their own world, hearten them to contemplate on ideas, and kindle artistic imagination and innovation. Being an introvert is perfectly normal irrespective of the large social misinterpretation.  

What Is Social Anxiety?

A common type of anxiety disorder, the defining feature of social anxiety is an extreme fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected is a social or performance situation. Individuals who suffer from social anxiety fear acting or appearing seemingly anxious or being seen as dumb, senseless or boring. Social anxiety comes on at 13 years of age and can be linked to a history of abuse, bullying, or teasing. Reports state that seemingly withdrawn kids are also more likely to become socially anxious adults, as are children with overbearing or controlling parents. They evade social or performance settings and are said to experience significant anxiety and distress.  The symptoms may often hamper them from leading a normal life and thus interfere with their social, occupational and daily routine. It is a mental disorder that can be overcome by curative measures. However, if left untreated it can lead to low self-esteem. Trouble being assertive, hypersensitive to criticism, isolation and difficult social relations, substance abuse and may even lead to suicide attempts. 

Social anxiety disorder is a much more frequent problem than precedent estimates have led us to believe.  Millions of people all over the world suffer from this distressing and traumatic condition every day, either from a specific social anxiety or from a more generalized social anxiety. In the US, epidemiological studies have recently pegged social anxiety disorder as the third largest psychological disorder in the country, after depression and alcoholism. It is approximated that over 7% of the people go through from some form of social anxiety at the present time.  The lifetime prevalence rate for developing social anxiety disorder is 13-14%.

Read How Anxiety Traps You & How You Can Break Free From It?

Difference Between Introversion And Social Anxiety 

Introversion and social anxiety are often used interchangeably. Just as frequently, social anxiety is misguidedly perceived as an intensely severe form of introversion. Because, by and large, they present overlapping signs and symptoms. They are concepts that can be found on the same spectrum. So what is the difference? Just that introversion is born and that social anxiety is made.

Introversion is a fraction of your inherent personality—a from-the-womb, dyed-in-the-wool trait. And while those who are socially anxious also carry a genetic inclination towards it, there’s more than just temperament at play. Social anxiety works its way to our brain. In an unseemly analogy, genetics loads the gun, but experience pulls the trigger. It could be triggered by anything at all- scrutiny and the judgments that follow, to name a few.  Reports show that children internalize the societal pressure to be sociable and outgoing and get seared by social ordeals like bullying. Another additive for social anxiety is dodging. Many people bolt themselves in fear of ensuing small talk. Avoidance is also seen in the form of feigning illness to get out of events and situations.  

When you delve into social anxiety, there is an overkilling fear of being revealed. They falsely perceive that they suffer from some intrinsic flaws that will hamper them from being found and loved. It is interesting to note that most of the time, these perceived flaws are a product of your out of line thinking and do not even exist. That heeded flaw could be something of physical imperfections or a character flaw. Either way, there is an underlying terror of poor social performance. In a nutshell, regardless of the perceived flaw, you dread the reveal. In distinction, the non-socially anxious introvert does not fear to be conceded or revealed because there is nothing to put out of sight. 

In social anxiety, your social acumen has no middle ground. It is either black or white. Therefore, the notion of perfectionism lays a fertile terrain for social anxiety. This all-or-nothing approach makes them think that one way to stave off foreseeable disapproval or criticism is to be naturally ingenious and amiable. This often renders them feeling paralyzed. For non-anxious introverts, however, being seen and acknowledged is no act of astounding fear. There is very little or no anticipated judgment. 

The confusing distinction between introversion and social anxiety may also be explained in terms of fear. While for many, introversion is just a way of life. On the other hand, social anxiety gets in your way of life as it is driven by fear. It makes you slip out of events because you are convinced that you’re not interesting or don’t fit in or something similar. This usually ends with you missing out on important events just out of it. Introversion is not as threatening and you enjoy your company or even the company of your close circle comforting. 

The next point of difference is narrow so it’s imperative to delve closely into the finer distinction. As discussed beforehand, introverts achieve gainful energy by being alone or being in the company of few trusted confidantes. If you are an introverted individual, solitude is uplifting and energizing to say the least. In contrast, social anxiety is enthused by fear.  Although loneliness makes you less anxious in certain dimensions, it would come more of as a feeling of reprieve than contentment. You may reiterate that being alone will provide you with the much needed respite, you would fear in your heart of hearts that you would be easily replaceable. Avoidance leaves you lonely and unsure of yourself. 

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