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Why is everyone looking at me? They are laughing, is it me that they are laughing at? Should I take a different route? They are definitely talking about me! I should go home. I should hide. This is an example of the thought process of a person with Social Anxiety Disorder. Social anxiety is more than shyness. It is a constant fear of social interactions. If you can relate to the above situation or have been in a similar situation, this post is for you.
We all feel nervous at certain times. Whether it is about talking to our bosses or public speaking. But if everyday communication even with our loved ones is causing anxiety, then there may be a problem.
This article is aimed at discussing what social anxiety disorder is. We will be expanding on its symptoms, treatments and more.
[box type=”shadow” align=”” class=”” width=””]Facts on Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
- According to the World Health Organization, anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness.
- SAD is a curable illness
- Social Anxiety Disorder usually develops during the age of 13
- In a study, out of 421 adolescents, 12.8% had a social anxiety disorder[/box]
What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social Anxiety disorder is commonly known as social phobia. It is because of the irrationality of the fear. The largest difference between everyday anxiety and social anxiety disorder is the fact that the level of anxiousness is too much to handle in the latter. The intensity of nervousness, fear, or shyness is so extreme in this disorder, that it starts to affect every aspect of your life.
As a result, people diagnosed with social anxiety try to completely avoid social situations and interactions.
Social Anxiety Disorder is a chronic mental health issue. It is one of the types of anxiety disorders. This primarily includes feelings of judgments, embarrassment, rejection, and fears. These emotions hinder the everyday activities of patients and lead them to denial of confrontation.
Social Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
The symptoms of social anxiety disorders are triggered in social situations. Common small talks can also set off the symptoms. Some people are shy by nature but in most cases, the physical and emotional manifestations of nervousness and anxiety determine if a person has SAD or not.
The common social anxiety disorder symptoms are categorized into three:
- Extreme Self-consciousness
- Denying social situations
- Isolation or alienating self
- Fear that the nervousness is visible
- Overthinking about responses to small interactions
- A desperate need for trustworthy companionship at all times
- Intense worries that continue for days or weeks on a small subject
- Avoiding eye contact
- Low self-esteem
- Negative self-image
- Fear of judgment from others
- Fear of being humiliated by others
- Crying spells
- Redness on the face
- Upset stomach
- Shaking or shivering
- Excessive sweating
- Increase in heartbeat rhythm
- Dryness in the mouth
- Fumbling speech
- Cold hands
- Muscle tension
Social Anxiety Disorder Causes
In SAD, anxiety becomes free-floating. As soon as a person is put in a social situation, a merry-go-round turns on within the mind. A flight mode is activated. The reason behind this flight mode is based on social anxiety disorder causes.
Genes- SAD is a gift from the family. Anxiety disorders run in families. Genetics coupled with the behavior of a person is one of the prime causes of this disorder.
Structure of the brain- Your brain decides your responses to triggers. There is a structure inside the human brain called the amygdala that particularly controls the fear response. People diagnosed with SAD have overactive amygdala which is why their response to fear is increased.
Societal factors- Life experiences play a major role in how we respond to social situations. There are times when intense embarrassing situations may cause SAD.
Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment
It is so unfortunate that our high-tech society is bloated with data but we still famish wisdom. We are connected at all times through various platforms but anxiety, depression, and loneliness are at an all-time high. We must course-correct. Medical science has been highly helpful in this regard.
Social anxiety disorder treatments have been made available. Some means of treatment for SAD are
Therapy- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a common treatment method for SAD. It is focused on relaxation techniques. It also tries to change the perspective of fear in an individual.
Social skills training- Specialists in this branch of medical science help patients to improve their social skills.
Meditation- Meditation as a form of SAD treatment is one of the most effective ways. It helps the patient learn how to relieve symptoms instantly.
Antidepressants- Since Social Anxiety Disorder is a mental health issue, doctors may prescribe certain medications to cope with the signs and symptoms.
Self-help Tips For Social Anxiety Disorder
SAD can be a complex illness. Mental illnesses are not treated as seriously. And especially with Social Anxiety Disorders, seeking help can be counteractive.
It can result in rather more anxiety. Here is a list of tips that you can practice every day. These self-help tips can help manage symptoms and teach emotional maturity.
Maintain a mood-log: Throughout the day, you can maintain a log of your mood to track your emotional behavior. The track of this, along with the help of professional doctors, can impact your treatment plan positively.
Breathing exercises: In a sudden anxiety attack, the foremost concern is to be able to calm yourself. It can be extremely difficult to regain your composure while you have anxiety.
Breathing exercises are highly effective in such cases. All you have to do is place your hand on your belly and count the movement of your breath. It will help you in regaining focus and calmness.
Diet: A healthy diet will help you incorporate several things. Instead of stress-eating, focus on eating nutritious food and direct your thoughts towards the inner health of your body.
Sleep: A good quality sleep can change everything. Take quick power naps to calm yourself when confronted with SAD.
Gratitude Journal: At the end of the day, you can write a journal of positivity about your life. Write two or three things about your day, even little things, that you were happy or grateful for.
Social Anxiety Disorder is an illness, it is not nervousness or weakness or craziness.
The above article has been our attempt to provide basic information about Social Anxiety Disorder Symptoms and more.
We understand that in a world where almost everyone goes through an immense amount of stress on an everyday basis, you may feel responsible for your condition. But we cannot emphasize enough on the fact that mental illnesses are illnesses. And proper care and treatment can cure them.
So instead of replaying such questions or doubts in your head, seek social anxiety disorder treatment.
Related Read: Dealing With Severe Anxiety? This is For You
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