Social anxiety disorder can make a person intensely afraid of being humiliated in social situations. The common disorder causes people to worry about not measuring up, particularly when talking to and interacting with others. Individuals with this disorder are overly concerned about embarrassing themselves in front of other people and afraid that others will judge them to be anxious, weak, “crazy” or stupid. The important thing to remember is that no one is judging you as harshly as you are. In fact, other people probably aren’t judging you at all.
Social Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
Public speaking is a common fear among sufferers of social anxiety disorder. Perhaps you are overly concerned that others will notice your trembling hands and voice or inarticulate speech. The intense fear of uncontrollable shaking hands can even cause you to avoid eating, drinking or writing in public. Aside from hand trembles, your social anxiety disorder probably produces symptoms including heart palpitations, dry mouth, tremors, sweating, blushing, gastrointestinal discomfort, muscle tension, a shaky voice and confusion. Severe episodes of social anxiety can result in a full-blown panic attack.
Types of Social Anxiety Disorder
Generalized social phobia causes a person to experience fear and anxiety in almost any social circumstance. Non-generalized social phobia, on the other hand, is the term used to describe individuals who experience fear and anxiety in just one or two situations.
There are additional ways to group social anxiety disorder. Some researchers group individuals based on the type of situation that triggers the anxiety. Two main categories are performance and interactional anxiety.
Individuals with performance anxiety experience intense anxiety when dining out, working, giving a speech or using a public restroom in front of, or in the presence of, other people. The interactional anxiety group includes people with intense fears about meeting new people or otherwise engaging with others.
A Vicious Cycle
The cycle of social anxiety disorder is undoubtedly vicious. The symptoms associated with social anxiety often create added concern about receiving unwanted and embarrassing attention regarding those symptoms. Anticipatory anxiety regarding the feared social situation is also quite common. This added anticipatory anxiety can lead to poor performance that is either perceived or real, which in turn creates added anxiety for future social situations.
Treatment for Social Anxiety
Social anxiety disorder is commonly treated by cognitive behavioral therapy, psychiatric medications or a combination of both. The treatment administered for social anxiety disorder may depend on the type of social phobia the individual is experiencing. With a better understanding of the type of social anxiety you are experiencing, the better you are able to address, confront and overcome the anxiety.
Posts related to Social Anxiety Disorder 101 | An Introduction to Social Phobia
Most of us have an odd fear for one thing or another. One of the most powerful and primal human emotions, fear inflicts everyone at …
Millions of people struggle with social phobia. Intense feelings of anxiety and fear bring many people serious problems in communicating with others and simply enjoying …
People with cognitive distortions often show signs of poor self image, depression, anxiety, social difficulties and a host of related mental health issues. Defined and …
Throughout the 1980s and into the 90s, cognitive behavioral therapy gained acceptance as the therapy of choice for many mental health care patients, including those …