Social anxiety disorder, a condition that affects nearly 20,000,000 Americans at this very moment, is a very real and very damaging condition. Sufferers experience a tremendous degree of anxiety in social situations.
Symptoms are not limited to emotional anxiety, but often manifest physically with heart palpitations, nervous stomach, muscle tension stiffness of gauge, shakes and stammering. The condition affects different people to different degrees.
Some people are able to mask their discomfort and go about their lives mildly uncomfortable in social situations, while others remain perpetually in a living hell. Those whose condition affects them to the degree that their lives are severely diminished are in need of treatment.
What’s the cause of this phobic reaction to personal interaction? The causes may be either or both biological or learned. It’s possible that the initial cause of social anxiety disorder is an underlying chemical imbalance affecting the neurotransmitter, serotonin. Some theorize that this imbalance restricts the way messages travel between nerve cells. This imbalance can alter the way people react during stressful situations. Research is still in its infancy.
Conditioning as a result of childhood humiliation, psychological abuse, sheltering, nervous parents, lack of praise, an overabundance of criticism, trauma can have psychological ramifications resulting in social anxiety disorder.
But the cause is not as important as the cure. To date, there is no complete cure, however there is treatment which can alleviate most of the symptoms and enable a person with this disorder to function happily and productively. If you know of someone that you believe suffers from this crippling disorder, understand and accept them, love them and get them into treatment. The successful completion of the treatment program can be like a rebirth for those who suffer from social anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of social anxiety disorder include many of these manifestations:
- An inability to make for a hold eye contact
- A feeling as if everyone is watching them.
- A feeling of being judged by people all the time.
- A fear of being ridiculed.
- A fear of embarrassing themselves.
- Trembling and shaking.
- Excessive sweating
- Speaking with a shaky voice
- An awkward gait
- Stiff posture and muscle tension
- Heart palpitations
- Confusion in social situations.
- Intense anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Excessive blushing
As a result of these extreme discomforts, social anxiety disorder sufferer will choose to avoid meeting new people, will begin to restrict his activities to familiar and safe places and avoid social situations, places where people may notice their condition, as often as possible.
It is not possible to “pick oneself up by the bootstraps” and lead a normal life when you suffer from social anxiety disorder. This condition requires treatment, help on learning to develop coping mechanisms to make life bearable in a social world.
The third most common psychological disorder is social anxiety disorder, which , in this country, affects close to 20 million people. This condition is marked by an excessive degree of self-consciousness. Sufferers feel as if they’re always being watched and judged. It manifests in a heightened degree of anxiety during social situation.
Social anxiety disorder sufferers behave as do those who suffer other phobias. They may logically understand that there is no spotlight on them, that other people are too busy worrying about their own projected image to be concerned with them, the logic has no impact on the condition.
Social anxiety disorder can be crippling, can affect the quality of life of the suffer and those involved in their lives. Sufferers, in anticipation of experiencing the extreme anxiety, of embarrassing themselves in public, will tend to avoid social situations as much as possible. This avoidance can negatively impact their lives and their livelihoods.
Remember, they are not cowards, they are not weak, they are merely suffering from an emotional disorder beyond their control. They need understanding and they need professional help.