Living With Social Anxiety

The Social Anxiety Experience

Social anxiety is a problem that can affect millions of people around the globe. It can be transient, due to significant events in a person’s life, or can be a chronic problem that can can have a crippling effect on the lives of those it touches. The symptoms can vary widely from one person to the next, so it is not always easy to diagnose. Anyone who experiences unbearable feelings of extreme anxiety or panic when in a social setting may have social anxiety disorder. They would be well advised to consult with a doctor, as proper treatment can successfully rid them of the feelings of paralyzing fear and lead them back to a normal, happy life.

Social anxiety disorder can manifest itself in a number of ways. Some of the most commonly experienced symptoms include feelings of fear that may seem to be irrational or unwarranted for the situation. Whereas it is not uncommon for most people to experience a bit of anxiety from time to time when faced with social events or unfamiliar surroundings, the feelings associated with social anxiety disorder can be extreme and consistent. Sufferers can experience strong sensations of fear regarding their behavior or the perceptions other people may have of them, worrying that  they may make mistakes, humiliate themselves, be overly flawed or be harshly judged by others. These fears can lead to heart palpitations, trembling, excessive blushing, perspiration, nausea, dizziness and speech problems.

Bashfulness or inherent shyness should not be confused with social anxiety. Shyness may feel uncomfortable, but is not debilitating in the same way as anxiety can be. Panic attacks related to social anxiety disorder can result in physical disablement, often preventing a person from movement. It can have a profound effect on a person’s life, limiting the ability to hold down a job or interact with other people.

Although it can affect anyone, social anxiety disorder is frequently experienced in conjunction with other problems such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Many sufferers exacerbate the problem by self-medicating with alcohol or drugs. The only truly effective way to achieve long-term successful relief is to seek professional help. A competent physician can help a patient obtain the right treatment, streamlined for his or her specific situation. Some of the varied treatments include cognitive and behavioral therapy, medication, counseling and meditative practices designed to help increase self-awareness. This can promote the ability of the patient to achieve a sense of calm and learn to deal with social situations in a controlled setting. By working together, the doctor and patient can find the most effective method of reclaiming a happy and productive life without the constraints of anxiety.

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