Social Anxiety disorder is when everyday interactions cause significant anxiety, fear, self-consciousness and embarrassment because you fear being scrutinized or judged by others. When a feared situation is encounters a person with social anxiety disorder will experience panic-like symptoms. The good part about this is there is treatment for this condition that has been proven to work once they learn how to mange their symptoms.
Understanding Social Anxiety
In mental health, Social Anxiety Disorder has a few common names also known as Social Anxiety, Social Phobia Disorder and Social Phobia. This mental disorder is expressed through anxiety attack symptoms typically during social interaction and performance behaviors. The anxiety attack symptoms vary and range from sudden and intense anxiety symptoms to a panic stage.
Possible causes of Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety is the anxiety and stress that one experiences in social situations. Some may consider this to be a sign of shyness within a person. In so many words this behavior is caused by excessive worrying about humiliation. Below are some examples that we all can relate to at one point in our lives:
- Being around unfamiliar people
- Assuming that you are being evaluated by others
- Blushing, not able to make eye contact
- Shaking or trembling
- Sweating/cold hands
Now more specifically in our childhood years, the causes of social anxiety usually pertain more to humiliation social experiences such as:
Unfortunately there are some situations where people are socially withdrawn since they have experienced abuse, which can also cause social anxiety as well.
For starters there are different levels of anxiety that people have to deal with. Some are severe, debilitating anxiety that needs immediate medical intervention. Some people deal with a moderate anxiety that drastically impacts their lives, but are still in a position to get through every day. And all others will go through a more mild anxiety experience that can be managed much easier but still go through the stressors when anxiety is alive and well.
Throughout the course of life we all will experience mild anxiety, you know the type of anxiety with irritating symptoms that just do not seem to go away, and at the same time, the kind of anxiety that doesn’t control you. Below are listed examples:
- When a person has that constant worries that you can generally ignore
- When you feel shaky, nauseated, or sweat but are not debilitated by these symptoms
- When a person doesn’t have panic attack or become overwhelmed by the anxiety to the point where one begins to fear the anxiety itself.
Just so you will know that Mild Anxiety is not like moderate anxiety, except that it will go never or rarely reach the point of becoming overwhelming. In this case its more of a hassle that you simply can’t control and one with spontaneous severity that reminds you that it’s something you need to deal with.
Social Anxiety test
When diagnosing Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), there would have to be a general review of the patient’s mental health history, to evaluate the patient’s perceptions and experiences. The goal of this kind of test is to determine if the fear is so severe as to interfere with the person’s daily functioning’s (work, school, or relationships). Below are some basic characteristics used in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5/ DSM-V):
• The person will have a significant and persistent fear of social (or performance) situations and will be intensely afraid of embarrassment or humiliation
• There will almost always be physical syptoms of anxiety or a panic attack.
• The person will recognize the fear is unreasonable but be unable to stop it.
• The person will avoid feared situations or endure them with intense anxiety.
• The symptoms will have persisted for at least six months.
Once this evaluation is completed its very important to differentiate SAD from other anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, from there a proper treatment plan can be prepared.
Yes there is a solution, social anxiety is a treatable condition. Therapy is a pretty popular natural intervention in addressing concerns experienced by persons with social anxiety. Under theses conditions cognitive behavior therapy is used most often. Cognitive Therapy is where the therapist and patient work together to develop strategies to overcome the anxiety and establish new skills for the patient to continue to address this condition when alone. Cognitive restructuring, during which the person in treatment works to identify negative beliefs in order to combat them, is often a helpful way for a person to examine the inner self and any beliefs that may contribute to social anxiety. Social skills training may also take place in treatment, giving the patients in treatment conversation and listening skills as well as practice with assertiveness. Now when exposed to both social situations that a person tend to escape and dislike sensations that occur as a result of one’s anxiety may also be helpful in reducing social anxiety. As with anything, when a person is frequently exposed to an intimidating or unpleasant emotion with no negative results, the anxiety regarding that situation or feeling will often fade away.
Now if you or if you know someone who’s is experiencing debilitating effects of social anxiety disorder, it is highly recommended that you contact your family practitioner and make that referral request to a qualified mental health professional in you local are. To help expedite this process, keep a log of any events or experiences that may have caused you extreme social distress, whether among acquaintances, at work, or out in the general public. With social anxiety support, this mental health challenge can be conquered and life can return back to normal.