What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?

The Truth about Social Anxiety Disorder

Some people assume that a social anxiety disorder is the mere nervousness of being around people or meeting new people for the first time. While that is certainly one of the symptoms, there is actually so much more to this condition than ordinary shyness or nervousness.

Shyness, Nervousness…Or SAD

When suffering from social anxiety, you experience severe shyness and anxiety attacks…and you have an irrational fear that everyone is constantly watching you and examining your every move.

You are afraid to do so many ‘normal’ everyday activities in case you make a mistake and will be judged for your action or behavior. Therefore you don’t want to attend functions and you find excuses to avoid them.

For me, speaking even around my own family and friends can cause me to experience high levels of anxiety because I know (or rather, I feel) like I am being silently ridiculed for every word I say.

Later I may hear things like “she shouldn’t have said that” or “you said” and it makes me even more nervous at the next event in case I say more wrong things.

So a person who has a social anxiety disorder may be convinced that people are talking about them and criticizing them all the time, which is why they do their best to avoid social situations like parties or dates. When they don’t have a choice but to interact with other people, they refuse to make eye contact and find an excuse to leave as early as possible.

Social Anxiety Documentary – Afraid of People

Social Anxiety Symptoms

Social anxiety can be manifested in many ways. Some of the more common symptoms include breaking out in a sweat, trembling, hypertension, heart palpitations and difficulty in breathing. Sometimes even just thinking about an upcoming social event will get them to exhibit these symptoms. They may feel sick in the stomach and want to go to bed or experience intense headaches, which is also a sign of hypertension.

Mild cases of social anxiety disorder can easily be dealt with — a person may be able to overcome some events simply by forcing themselves to get through with the event no matter what. Deep breathing techniques and meditation may also be helpful for some.

However, the more serious cases of social anxiety may be harder to conquer. These are the instances where the sufferer will absolutely refuse to interact with people, choosing to hide in their homes rather than go to work or leave the house. Often a person with a severe social anxiety disorder will also have agoraphobia. These cases would require professional psychological treatment.

Don’t Dismiss Social Anxiety Disorder – Seek Help or Treatment

Although it can occur in practically anyone, studies show that social anxiety is more prevalent in women than in men. Signs of the disorder usually become apparent during the teenage years when societal pressure is at its peak.

Too many people ignore social anxiety disorders, thinking that it is just a behavioral glitch — some people are outgoing, others are shy…but it’s much more than that. When left untreated, social anxiety can gradually ruin your life if you let it. It can lead to the loss of a job, divorce, not wanting to start new relationships, not going out and enjoying social gatherings and becoming hurt by others comments and thoughts about you.

In order to avoid this, early diagnosis and treatment for overcoming social anxiety is recommended. Unfortunately many people don’t even know they have it. Every one told me I was just a ‘weird’ person…so I just thought I was different and more sensitive.

So if you think you have or you are diagnosed with social anxiety, it is important to get proper treatment right away to prevent the disorder from escalating to the more advanced stages.

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About Jennifer Johnson

I suffered with social anxiety and stress for years. I discovered what my triggers were and learned to control them. Hopefully some of the natural anxiety relief techniques I have tried, will also be your solution.

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