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Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)

Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, is a serious mental illness for many. Social anxiety disorder takes being shy to a whole new level. While being occasionally awkward in social situations is normal. Social phobia is a serious issue for those who struggle with it.

Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) is considered to be a chronic mental health condition. However, fortunately social phobia can be successfully treated often times through combination therapy of psychotherapy and medications. Some with social anxiety disorder receive successful treatment through just one or other. While it is perfectly normal to feel shy or nervous in some given situations like public speaking, or a little nervous anticipation when around people you don't know, it is not normal to have an irrational fear or anxiety when about to go somewhere unknown or to meet new people for the first time. Some with this social phobia struggle so badly they are unable to even be around people in general whether they know them or not. This type of disorder can really interfere with a person's way of life including social situations like work or just casual meetings, making friends or even establishing relationships.

Social Anxiety Disorder Symptoms and Causes:

Those suffering from social anxiety disorder will usually exhibit a few cut and dry signs of this disorder such as an intense fear of interacting with strangers. Those with SAD also might have an irrational fear of situations in which they feel they will be judged like job interviews or being the only new person in the group. They worry because they feel they might humiliate themselves or worry about simply looking so anxious in front of everyone. When this kind of anxiety begins to disrupt your daily routine like going to work, school or doing other regular activities, this is when SAD becomes a problem warrant of professional treatment. If you avoid speaking to people face-to-face or avoid speaking in public out of fear of embarrassment, this is a big indicator of a social phobia. Another sign of social anxiety disorder is when you might even have difficulty making eye contact or talking in general, you might need treatment for SAD.

Symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Clammy hands
  • Cold hands
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • Upset stomach
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Blushing

The big problem usually comes when the person suffering from SAD is so paranoid about their anxious reactions that it makes them even more nervous and anxious. If these issues are becoming such a problem that you aren't able to function on a daily basis, then it is time to consult with a mental health care professional for help. Some of the causes of social anxiety disorder might be because it is a problem that runs in the family, brain chemistry, brain structure or other negative experiences in your life that have altered your perception. This might include being teased or bullied as a child or tormented and abused my parents or other adults. 

Social Anxiety Disorders Risk Factors and Treatment Options:

Those with SAD might have even more troubles with the mental disorder if they are in a new place where they don't know anyone. Females are also more at risk for social phobias than in comparison with men. If you have a family history of social phobia you are also more at risk for SAD. Some with physical health issues also might be more at risk because they are so self-conscious about their disability or physical ailment. For those who physically find it difficult to be able to cope with these social anxiety issues, they need to seek treatment right away. Often time, SAD is treated with some anti-anxiety medications as well as therapies that might help address some of the actual reasons why they feel so nervous/scared about being in public. Getting professional help is the best way to seek the best recovery for this often life-long issue that people have to cope with. In order to get the best results, it is important to consult with your health care professional to determine the best course of treatment. 

Sources: webmd.com, mayoclinic.com

Related Article: Mental Health Counseling >>

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