Social anxiety disorder is a very common mental health issue. People who suffer from it may experience it differently, but in general, social anxiety disorder is a persistent, overwhelming fear of being watched and judged by others in social situations.
Physical symptoms of social anxiety disorder may include rapid heartbeat, dizziness or lightheadedness, upset stomach, diarrhea, and shallow breathing. Symptoms can appear immediately before a social event, or they can start weeks in advance. Afterwards, a lot of time may be spent worrying about the experience.
People suffering from social anxiety disorder tend to have trouble dealing with certain situations, including talking to strangers, speaking in public, dating, making eye contact, going to parties, eating in front of others, and starting conversations. Interestingly, some people may have no problem giving a speech, but might be anxious about attending a party. Others may be terrific conversationalists in small groups, but may be nervous entering a crowded classroom.
The causes of social anxiety disorder aren't known, but it is theorized that genetics may play a role. An overactive amygdala (the part of the brain that controls fear) may also be a factor. Studies have shown a link between the disorder and a history of abuse, bullying, or teasing. Shy children also tend to become socially anxious in adulthood, as do kids with controlling or overbearing parents.
Social anxiety disorder can affect people very strongly; most will avoid social situations whenever possible. This can affect personal relationships, and may lead to low self-esteem, negative thoughts, depression, sensitivity to criticism, and poor social skills. Fortunately, social anxiety disorder can be treated.
A diagnosis of social anxiety disorder may be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, or both. CBT teaches different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations that will reduce anxiety and fear. It also helps patients learn and practice social skills. For more information about social anxiety disorder and treatment options, please contact:
Capstone Behavioral Health Care
1123 1st Avenue E, Suite 200
Newton, Iowa. 50208