Social anxiety lies at the extreme end of a very common social problem: discomfort and nervousness in social situations. Even the most well-adjusted person can feel anxious or self-conscious in group settings. But when this anxiety reaches debilitating levels it becomes a true phobia that needs treatment.
Social Anxiety is a common psychological “trigger” for obsessive compulsive behavior such as compulsive finger picking. For example, a person may handle a stressful social situation better if he focuses on an automatic action like picking his fingers. He may pick inconspicuously in public — in the middle of the stressful situation — or else wait until he’s alone later and to perform finger picking as a ritual to “cool off” and relax. Either way, social anxiety acts as a trigger for his compulsive behavior.
If social anxiety is the “trigger” — i.e. the cause — of your finger picking, pursuing various psychological treatments to get to the bottom of what’s causing the anxiety is the best way to tackle the problem.
On the other hand, finger and skin-picking can itself be a trigger for social anxiety. For example if a person has badly callused finger pads or a bloody hangnail, this can trigger public anxiety over being “discovered” and ridiculed for such self-harming behavior.
If finger picking is the trigger — i.e. the cause — of your social anxiety, then pursuing behavior modification or stimulus control techniques to control the amount picking you do will help relieve your anxiety.
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