Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic?

Look, I know I don’t post here enough. I’m too busy trying to survive these difficult economic times to devote energy to the things I value most, like this Web Site, but I read this article in the New York Times today that is so good, so important that I had to pass it on. Read This. Read This. Read This and know that you are not a freak.

My favorite line in this three page article is a quote from Winifred Gallagher: “Neither E=mc2 nor ‘Paradise Lost’ was dashed off by a party animal.”

Here’s the article. Read it all.


Steps to Beat Social Anxiety

Here are the steps for conquering social anxiety:

Social anxiety is a very common problem. There are many causes, but most people can recover without any type of counseling by a professional.  If you have this problem, the effects of it can be quite unsettling.  There may be feelings of isolation, self-consciousness, or nervousness around groups along with a number of physical symptoms too. Sometimes, these people get shaky hands, sweaty hands, or nausea in their abdomen.

There are certain things you can do to help you to overcome this ailment. Below is a description of five ways that work.

If you are not comfortable in a natural live setting, try the virtual one.  Perhaps you like to travel or to grow flowers. There are so many chat boards based on these areas. By going online, you can take a look at them and see what the people who do these things are like.  If you look for friendly people, then you can sign up and post your blogs on there as well.  You must first socialize, even if it is not in person.

Once you have done this, move on to the next step. Broaden your horizons and talk to more people, but this time, do it in person. You can join a live group in your area that will give you the necessary support you need.  Remember, they are exactly the same way as you are and your group’s leader will know how to engage people in ways that do not seem threatening to anyone.  Be sure that you go and have lots of fun!

After this, you should talk to several of the group and see if they would like to go have coffee or perhaps take a walk.
It will probably not be near as terrifying as you imagine. You might find that it is easier to talk and enjoy other people’s company.

Once you get comfortable in your group, invite a group of people to your home for dinner or lunch. It does not have to be a whole lot of people, maybe four.  You should be a more confident person by now without the sweat and heart palpitating all the while you are talking to someone. With your experience now and the support of your group, you are ready to take the big plunge.

All during the process, make sure you write in a journal or diary about all of these different milestones toward conquering your social anxiety.  Write down what your thoughts are, and also anything positive that has happened to you and things that people find in you that makes you a good friend.  The list will be much longer than you think it will.  You can look back and just enjoy this memento of your success.  Good luck with your journey!


Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder

Another name for the social anxiety disorder is social phobia. This occurs when a person is just terrified to be in any kind of social situation.  The worry and overly self-consciousness come from being afraid of being watched or criticized by our peers.

Persons with this disorder are fearful that he or she will do something humiliating in front of other people. They may not have good social skills or not be comfortable in these settings, and that can make matters worse. Some people go from there into a full-blown panic attack. You might simply try to hide from social situations or be very uncomfortable in them.  They may also have a condition known as anticipatory anxiety. This is just a fear that something is going to happen before it actually does, and this can take place many days or weeks before a social encounter is supposed to happen. Usually, they will realize that this is an unreasonable fear but may not be able to control it.

This particular disorder incorporates untrue or very exaggerated beliefs about what happens in social situations and what negative opinions others may have about them. If they do not seek treatment, this can have a very negative impact on the individual’s daily activities, including their school life, work, social situations, and any type of relationships as well.

If the person has only a mild case, he may be afraid of a certain type of event, such as giving a speech. Usually, however, the fear involves more than one type of event such as eating, writing, being in a group with others, having everyone’s attention on them, asking questions, or even answering questions in public, or maybe something as necessary as using a public lavatory or phone calls.

There are other mental illnesses such as panic attacks, ocdc (obsessive-compulsive disorder, or major depression.  Many people first seek help with complaints from these other illnesses and not this one.

Do not try to take care of this situation by yourself alone. If you feel like you are a sinking ship, and the anxiety is getting the best of you, or affecting your relationships or your work itself, then you probably should make an appointment with your doctor to talk about treatment options. Do not be embarrassed by this disorder and know that there are many people out there just like you. Do not suffer in silence.

Your doctor can talk with you about various treatment plans that will help you get this under control and be able to have a better quality of life.  You may have to take medication to change your brain’s chemistry to lessen many of the symptoms that are so uncomfortable.  Plus, the doctor can also prescribe psychotherapy with a medical professional that will work with you to change your thoughts leading up to the stress and worry that go along with your anxiety.

Remember, talk to a medical professional and do not use this advice in substitution for their expert help.




What is Agoraphobia?

Fear of travel is the most commonly used definition of agoraphobia.  It can become serious when a person cannot bring themselves to leave their home or only a mild case where they can only travel a short distance away from their home.  When they step outside what they consider a safe distance, they may have a panic attack.

Take small steps in order to slow these attacks. If you want to overcome them finally, then you have to start by setting goals of ways to overcome your agoraphobia attacks.  A good support group of relatives and pals will help you get through this plan.

An attack can be most frustrating for someone who does suffer from these types of attacks. There is often less rationale for these than for the usual kind of panic attacks. If you are afraid of public areas, that can result from social anxiety. A person who suffers from agoraphobic attacks may be so embarrassed they are afraid to travel in case they suffer an attack in public.

You have to learn to push yourself and your limits in order to overcome these attacks. This makes it harder to treat and so many attacks worsen in intensity before they lessen.  If you stay within a safe zone all the time, then you can sort of ignore your condition.  But even though you can ignore it for a while, remember it is just a symptom of a chronic social disorder. It will not go away just because you ignore it; you must face your fears head-on and work through them.
That is the only way you will ever be able to conquer them completely.

A little at a time, you can overcome agoraphobia.  It take a whole lot of patience and some time. This is when you really need to find a trusted friend to help you through this time in your life.



Defining Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety Defined

Diagnosing social anxiety can be complex since the symptoms can be so diverse. This anxiety might manifest as a specific fear in some individuals, involving drinking and eating. Some individuals experience anxiety when writing and speaking around others or before a group. Another symptom is fear of public restrooms and difficulty using them. More extreme cases cause the sufferers to experience anxiety and fear regardless of the social situation, preventing these individuals from ever being able to relax and enjoy events involving other people.

For those with social anxiety, the seemingly mundane and boring regular routines engaged in by the majority of people are a source of terror and constant preoccupation to the anxiety suffer. This terror can leave him or her too paralyzed with fear to act or perform necessary daily functions. The condition can result in the inability to get to work or attend school because of the irrational dread of being noticed or observed. With these symptoms the person is usually incapable of forming any normal, comfortable relationship with another person because they not only cannot comfortably meet people, they cannot interact and enjoy activities with friends. Only a very understanding and patient friend can handle these kinds of symptoms that severely limit what a person can tolerate doing without experiencing anxiety. Typical physical symptoms that an observer might notice are:

– Frequent blushing when interacting in groups of people
– Perspiring heavily due to anxiety, even though the temperature is cool and comfortable
– Actually developing shaky hands or body when having to deal with another person who has addressed or approached him or her.
– Nausea or even vomiting due to unrelieved anxiety
– Inability to speak without great effort

Social anxiety is not rare-around 5.3 million adult Americans have this disorder and it afflicts men and women equally. The condition usually starts to affect the person when still a child or as she enters her teenage years. Some experts feel there may be a genetic component to developing this social phobia, making close family members of a sufferer more susceptible to also having social anxiety problems.

The symptoms of social anxiety can be so stressful and debilitating those persons frequently start self-medicating to alleviate their symptoms. Unfortunately, alcohol and drugs – both over-the-counter and uncontrolled substances–are often the symptom-relievers of choice, frequently leading to their abuse. Addictions compound the problems of social anxiety. Sufferers should not try to handle this condition on their own. Professional help of a doctor and psychotherapist can diagnose the condition and medical professionals can prescribe medications that will be truly effective without exacerbating the problem.



Panic Attacks

A Look at Panic Attacks

Even in this modern age, there is still a stigma attached to nervous disorders. If someone is having a panic attack, someone else is likely to believe that person just wants to get attention. While a panic attack is not a well-known medical diagnosis, it is definitely serious. Panic attacks as a disorder have both mental and physical symptoms. If left untreated, these can become debilitating. Patients having panic attacks should be examined by a physician and get treatment to gain control over the disorder.

Classified as an actual disorder, panic attacks are recognized as “generalized anxiety disorder” by the federal government’s mental health department (NIMH). Other disorders in the anxiety category include post-traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia, and social phobias. It is estimated that over 20 million Americans suffer with at least one form of anxiety problem great enough to be considered a disorder.

A panic attack is characterized by having an intense feeling of generalized, irrational and unfocused fear while experiencing a racing heart beat that occurs spontaneously and lasts for a  period of time (up to fifteen to twenty minutes). Chest pains, shortness of breath, tremors and excessive perspiration, nausea , a choking sensation, headaches, and hot flashes or chills are other symptoms of a panic attack. The person affected may have some or all of these symptoms and be fearful of going insane or having a heart attack. Panic attacks will occur without warning and become an interruption in lifestyle, so anyone who has experienced more than one should seek medical help.

Everyone will experience some form of extreme stress or tension in their lives, This is not considered a panic disorder. Having been frightened by experiencing several panic attacks and beginning to live in fear of having others, worrying constantly, and making changes in lifestyle because of these attacks is symptomatic of the disorder.

Having experienced even one panic attack, you should see a doctor. Make notes about the symptoms you displayed, the place and time of the attack, how long it lasted and what you were doing when the attack begin. This detail will help your doctor in making the right diagnosis and finding the most effective treatments. Panic attacks may occur while you are suffering from some other anxiety-related disorder, so the more information you can provide for your medical treatment the better the treatment plan will help.

Panic attacks are indeed real. A person experiencing one needs to be assisted to a quiet place until it passes, then taken to medical help. This is a treatable condition once the patient understands what is happening to him or her.