Social Anxiety Disorder Facts

Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, is one of the five major anxiety disorders. This anxiety disorder is characterized by the intense anxiety and self consciousness that is experienced when in everyday social situations. Many times, the anxiety that is felt will often lead to panic and avoidance behaviors.

People who experience social anxiety disorder have an irrational fear of being watched, judge by other people and may also fear humiliation or embarrassment. They are overwhelmingly focused on what others think or might be thinking of them.

These fears can be debilitating, causing the sufferer to struggle with work, school, and other normal activities that cause for social interaction.

Symptoms of social anxiety are somewhat the same as those in other anxiety disorders. Physical symptoms usually present themselves as blushing, sweating, shaking, panic, dizziness, depersonalization, breathlessness, and nausea. Symptoms vary depending on the person and the intensity of their condition and their level of self consciousness.

Some sufferers may only experience one specific type of phobia, such as public speaking or fears of eating or drinking in front of other people. Other people struggle with a more severe case which means they experience symptoms almost every time they are around other people.

It is not uncommon for avoidance behavior to severely limit social interactions, therefore resulting in other problems such as loneliness, depression, low self-esteem. People with social anxiety disorder usually suffer from a lack of personal relationships and friendships.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, social anxiety disorder (social phobia) affects approximately 15 million adult Americans. This does not account for the millions around the world that are affected.

Men and women develop this anxiety equally and it commonly presents itself in early childhood or adolescence.

It is not uncommon for people who suffer with social anxiety disorder to also suffer with other disorders such as panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobias, agoraphobia and depression.

Help for Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder is most commonly treated with Medication Therapy and Psychotherapy, however, there are other methods that have been proven to work as well. How a person decides to recover is really a personal choice. It is always best to choose a recovery plan that is most comfortable and suitable for you.

Other methods of treatment include (but not limited to):

It is not uncommon for people to choose more than one method in treatment. What works for one person may not work the same way for another. It really is important to learn all you can so you can make the best decisions for yourself.

The sooner you seek help for social anxiety disorder, the sooner you will find yourself on the road to recovery. If you are suffering, don't wait, seek the help of a qualified therapist and educate yourself. Recovery begins when you start taking control over your life and making healthy decisions for yourself.

Recommended Reading

These are some of the best reviewed books for social anxiety disorder. There is power in education, so educate yourself!

Painfully Shy: How to Overcome Social Anxiety and Reclaim Your Lifeby Barbara Markway, PhD. and Gregory Markway , PhD.

How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationshipsby Leil Lowndes

Additional Resources

For some quick tips, visit Building Self Confidence.

Tom G. Stevens, PhD offers a free online book called "You Can Choose to be Happy" there is an entire section dedicated to building self confidence and self-worth called "DEVELOP GREATER SELF-WORTH AND SELF-CONFIDENCE" that is extremely helpful.

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