Social phobia: Symptoms and Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder

Do you know anyone that becomes overwhelmingly anxious, and quite self-conscious and everyday in ordinary social settings? Do they seem as if they never become comfortable in any setting, no matter how hard you may try to make them feel comfortable?

Whether you realize it or not many people suffer from a condition known as social phobia or social anxiety disorder.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder causes an extreme and senseless fear of embarrassment or judgment in public. People who suffer from social anxiety disorder, feel very anxious about being in any type of a social situation whatsoever. They may appear as socially awkward or odd when out in public. Often, this individual may be afraid that they will be embarrassed or somehow look silly in front of other people. This fear may be exacerbated by a lack of experience in social situations or social skills overall.

As a consequence, this fear can build into a full-blown panic attack. Because of the social anxiety disorder they may become very distressed in social situations and will avoid them when possible. What you may notice is that this individual may suffer from just the mere anticipation of having anxiety well before the event actually occurs. Extraordinarily, this may occur weeks or even days before the actual event. Many may think well, can’t they just control it? The sad truth is, that even if the sufferer realizes their thoughts are unreasonable or irrational they’re still unable to exercise very little control over the phobia.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety or Social Phobias

Those affected by social anxiety disorder often demonstrate distorted thinking, which includes untrue beliefs regarding social situations and how others view them negatively. Because of this, treatment is essential. Without it, this disorder will affect their overall ability to interact on a daily basis. This includes interpersonal relationships, school work settings and of course social activities.

A person that has social anxiety disorder may find common activities that include human interaction unbearable and uncomfortable. Some of the more common situations that may induce social anxiety disorder are eating or drinking in front of others, working or even writing in front of others, talking on the telephone, and even using public bathrooms.

Most sufferers of this anxiety disorder often avoid or limit contact with others. This can keep you away from life’s common activities. This disorder can lead to physical complications as well. These symptoms include:

  • Elevated heartbeat.
  • Shortened breath.
  • Feeling of a compressed chest when in a social activity you fear.
  • Recognizing the Signs or Symptoms of Social Phobia and Anxiety Sisorder

Common symptoms to look out for include: avoiding social situations, severe anxiety in a social situation, and even physical symptoms such as heart pounding, profuse sweating, shaking, upset stomach, and even diarrhea.

However, social anxiety disorder has signs that may vary according to the age of the person who has it.

Signs of social anxiety in adults and teens include:

  • Unmistakable and reasonless fear of judgment and embarrassment in public.
  • When in a fearful situation, extreme anxiety or even panic attacks may occur.
  • Realizing that your phobias are unimportant or continuous.
  • Dodging social activities you fear, or going through them with extreme discomfort or anxiety.
  • Dodging or anxiously thinking of the turnout of a feared activity so much that it creates complications within relationships as well as social interactions.

Signs of social anxiety in children

  • Fear of humiliation in front of friends. This does not include adolescents/adults.
  • Showing anxiety by having tantrums, being shy around unknown people, or periodically freezing up in the middle of a social activity.
  • Denial of or unreasonable explanations of their fears.
  • Phobia of expositions such as reading a school report to the class or playing a song on an instrument for an audience. This is a continuous fear that may last more than half a year.

What to do About Social Phobia or Anxiety Disorder

What should you do if you think that you or a loved one may be suffering from social anxiety disorder?

The first step is to contact a physician or therapist. A doctor will be able to screen for social anxiety disorder and recommend further treatment options to help the patient deal with social anxiety disorder. Treatment can increase the sufferers ability to function effectively in society.

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