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Social anxiety is anxiety (emotional discomfort, fear, apprehension, or worry) about social situations, interactions with others, and being evaluated or scrutinized by other people. It is the third most prevalent psychiatric disorder according to the US National Comorbidity Survey(American Psychiatric Association, 1994). It can occur at different times of life, and for different reasons. Developmental social anxiety occurs early in childhood as a normal part of the development of social functioning, and is a stage that most children grow out of, but problem or chronic social anxiety may persist (perhaps unnoticed) until adolescence or may surface in adulthood. People vary in how often they experience social anxiety and in which kinds of situations. Overcoming social anxiety depends on the person and the situation. In some cases it can be relatively easy²just a matter of time passing for many individuals, and yet for some people social anxiety can become a very difficult, painful and even disabling problem that is chronic in nature. The reasons are unknown. Social anxiety can be related to shyness or anxiety disorders or other emotional or temperamental factors, but its exact nature is still the subject of research and theory and the causes may vary depending on the individual. Recovery from chronic social anxiety is possible in many cases, but usually only with some kind of therapy or sustained self-help or support group work. A psychopathological (chronic and disabling) form of social anxiety is called social phobia or social anxiety disorder, and is a chronic problem that can result in a reduced quality of life. Overcoming social anxiety of this type can be very difficult without getting assistance from therapists, psychologists or support groups. Social anxiety can also be self-integrated and persistent for people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, which can also make the social anxiety harder to overcome, especially if ignored. Some use the terms social anxiety and social phobia interchangeably.
Contents[hide] 1 Forms and degrees 1.1 Child
selfconsciousness. and past behavior. peer rejection. while embarrassment itself is . For example. etc. Most adolescents progress through their fears and meet the developmental demands placed on them. Adolescents have identified their most common anxieties as focused on relationships with peers to whom they are attracted. blushing.e. become anxiety disorders (see below). i. However some psychologists draw distinctions among various types of social discomfort. the anticipation of an embarrassment is a form of social anxiety. public speaking anxiety.performance anxiety.development 1. The term social anxiety is also commonly used in reference to experiences such as embarrassment and shame.. public speaking. Cognitive advances and increased pressures in late childhood and early adolescence result in repeated social anxiety. with the criterion for anxiety being anticipation. All of these may also assume clinical forms.3 Disorder 2 Communication Issues 3 See also 4 References 5 External links  Forms and degrees  Child development Social anxiety first occurs in infancy and is said to be a normal and necessary emotion for effective social functioning and developmental growth.  Ordinary adult form Common adult forms of social anxiety include shyness. timidness.2 Ordinary adult form 1. stage fright.
. Criteria that distinguish between clinical and nonclinical forms of social anxiety include the intensity and level of behavioral and psychosomatic disruption (discomfort) in addition to the anticipatory nature of the fear. The clinical (disorder) forms are also divided into general social phobia (i..not. and behavioral components (e. support groups for people who have the disorder (whether through clinical diagnosis or self-diagnosis) often refer to it as simply "social anxiety" or even "SA". social anxiety disorder) and specific social phobia. The experience is commonly described as having physiological components (e. Clinicians and researchers continue to struggle with definitional problems regarding the constructs of shyness. Criteria in the DSM and ICD attempt to distinguish clinical versus nonclinical forms of social anxiety. The essence of social anxiety has been said to be an irrational or unreasonable expectation of negative evaluation by others.. Social anxieties may also be classified according to the broadness of triggering social situations. belief that one may be judged negatively or looking for signs of disapproval).g. cognitive/perceptual components (e. Although the "official" clinical name for the disorder.e. although such problems in living in society may still deserve attention as a matter of social justice. on scientific and political grounds. persistent and disabling social anxiety may be diagnosed as social anxiety disorder. Each shares similarities. blushing).g. people satisfying DSM social phobia criteria may simply be temperamentally high in social anxiety rather than suffering from a disorder. . while shyness may have a wide scope (a person may be shy of doing many things in various circumstances). sweating. fear of eating in public has a very narrow situational scope (eating in public). social anxiety.g.  Disorder Main articles: social anxiety disorder and specific social phobia Extreme. including by intensity and levels of behavioral and psychosomatic disruption: The validity of the "disorder" diagnosis has been challenged. as listed in the DSM and ICD. One theory is that social anxiety occurs when there is motivation to make a desired impression along with doubt about having the ability to do so. For example. avoiding a situation). however. and social anxiety disorder. is Social Phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder.
 People with generalized social phobia have great distress in a wide range of social situations. distressing panic attacks. although it is widely agreed that there are differences. using public restrooms (paruresis). Other examples of specific social phobia include fears of writing or eating in public. 1983. fewer successful problem solving skills. A continuum describes some of the distinctions yet there is no absolute consensus yet as to where one disorder begins and another ends. known as stage fright. the fear of public speaking and the fear of performance. Mental health professionals often distinguish between generalized social phobia and specific social phobia. and self conciousness impairing their speech. 16) that causes ineffective communication when in a social or public situation. Those with specific social phobia may experience anxiety only in a few situations. 479). patients with social anxiety typically experience embarrassment. and dealing with authority figures.  Communication Issues Social Anxiety causes something called Communication Apprehension. ³Communication apprehension is the level of fear or anxiety associated with either real or anticipated communication with another person´ McCrosky 1984. This brings up a problem with people who experience social anxiety getting help for their problems. attending social gatherings. The feelings of embarrassment. and use less interpersonal problem solutions.yet each has been used to define distinct aspects of psychological life as it relates to interpersonal functioning and how easy or difficult different cases of social anxiety are to overcome.creating a pattern thats hard to break. avoiding social situations because of their fear eliminates the opportunities for social growth which reinforces their fears which will of course lead to more avoiding. inferiority. Early communication researchers described physiological sensations experienced while giving a public speech as "profound discomfort" (Lomas. The term "specific social phobia" may also refer to specific forms of non-clinical social anxiety. such as hyperthyroidism. . and shame that social anxiety causes inhibits the ability to seek help. Social anxiety disorder may sometimes be symptomatic of an underlying medical disorder. p. Basically. 1944. p. According to a study done by Robin and Mills children experiencing social anxiety show issues in social perspective-taking ability. this can be thought of as anµµinternally experienced feeling of discomfort¶¶ (McCsroskey. The most common symptoms of specific social phobia are glossophobia.
Anxiolytic medication aids a patient to handle social or professional situations before more lasting treatment has had an effect and therefore it is a provider of short term relief .  Prevalence and distribution In the past. An article based on a National Comorbidity Survey reported that 1/3 people with lifetime social phobia suffered from glossophobia Another survey of a community sample from a Canadian city reported that of people who believed being anxious in one or several social situations 55% feared speaking to a large audience. 7% feared eating and 5% feared writing in public. when the prevalence was estimated by sampling the psychiatricclinical cases. A more reliable source used now is community surveys. Beta-adrenergic antagonists help to control palpitations and tremors unresponsive to the treatment of anxiolytic medication. fears of acting in social setting and interacting with other people. Also the MAOI moclobemide works well on treating social phobia in the short term. Clinical experience of the prognosis of social phobia shows that it can prolong for many years but that it improves by mid life. respectively. 25% feared speaking to a small group of familiar people. social phobia was thought to be a rare disorder.5% feared social gatherings. Patients who have avoided certain situations should make a big effort to become exposed to these situations while at the same time taking antidepressant medication.e. 14% feared speaking to strangers. Treatment of social phobia includes antidepressant medication. Various surveys show that the syndrome of glossophobia is the most prevalent type. One must read the precautions of these drugs outlined in the manufacturer's literature and be careful to watch out for the contraindications of these drugs. fluvoxamine and paroxetine are common medications which alleviate social phobia successfully in the short term but it is not certain if they are useful in the long-term. ..Specific social phobia may be classified into performance fears and interaction fears. The risk of dependence of anxiolytics should be noted and consequently they should not be used regularly. because people with social phobia rarely seek psychiatric help by the very nature of their disorder. 23% feared dealing with authority. i. The cause of social phobia is not definite. It is now recognized that this way of estimating is inappropriate. 14. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as sertraline. Symptoms of social phobia can occur in late adolescence when youths highly value the impressions they give off to their peers.
in fact. like when giving a speech or interviewing for a new job. IN THIS ARTICLE: Social anxiety disorder Signs and symptoms Getting help Reducing physical symptoms Challenging negative thoughts Facing your fears Related links PRINT AUTHORS TEXT SIZE What is social anxiety disorder (social phobia)? Matthew¶s story Matthew skipped class today.Many people get nervous or self-conscious on occasion. If you have social anxiety disorder. But social anxiety disorder is more than just shyness or occasional nerves. He always feels so humiliated afterwards. He knows it shouldn¶t be a big deal. Whenever he has to speak in front of more than just a few people. Social anxiety disorder. his voice starts shaking and his face gets red. but it really stresses him out. he¶ll have to give a toast at the reception and he¶s already nervous about it. he¶s been avoiding a speech class he has to take in order to graduate. and he¶s afraid that the professor will go around the class and have the students introduce themselves. involves intense fear of certain social situations ² especially situations that are . also known as social phobia. even though it¶s over six months away. It¶s the first day of the new semester. He¶s also dreading his brother¶s wedding. The good news is that many effective treatments and self-help strategies can help you overcome the symptoms of social anxiety and reclaim your life. Since public speaking is Matthew¶s worst nightmare. that you may go to great lengths to avoid situations that would trigger it. As the best man. your fear of embarrassing yourself is intense ² so intense.
And even though you probably realize that your fears of being judged are at least somewhat irrational and overblown. Many people struggle with these fears. social anxiety disorder is actually quite common. such as speaking to strangers.unfamiliar or in which you¶ll be watched or evaluated by others. eating at restaurants. a condition known as generalized social anxiety disorder. Performing on stage Eating or drinking in public Being teased or criticized Speaking up in a meeting Talking with ³important´ people or authority Attending parties or other socia figures Signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder (social phobia) . Some people experience anxiety in most social and performance situations. But the situations that trigger the symptoms of social phobia can be different. or embarrassed in public. judged. These social situations may be so frightening that you get anxious just thinking about them or go to great lengths to avoid them. You may be afraid that people will think badly of you or that you won¶t measure up in comparison to others. Although it may feel like you¶re the only one with this problem. anxiety is connected with specific social situations. Triggers for social anxiety disorder (social phobia) The following situations are often stressful for people with social anxiety disorder: Meeting new people Being called on in class Being the center of attention Going on a date Being watched while doing something Making phone calls Making small talk Using public bathrooms Public speaking Taking exams. Underlying social anxiety disorder is the fear of being scrutinized. or going to parties. For other people with social phobia. The most common specific social phobia is fear of public speaking or performing in front of an audience. you still can¶t help feeling anxious.
Avoidance of social situations to a degree that limits your activities or disrupts your life. Fear that others will notice that you¶re nervous. feeling faint Clammy hands Twitching Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) in children There¶s nothing abnormal about a child being shy. Fear that you¶ll act in ways that that will embarrass or humiliate yourself. or performing in . Excessive self-consciousness and anxiety in everyday social situations. Physical symptoms of social anxiety disorder (social phobia) Pounding heart or tight chest Shaky voice Rapid breathing Sweating or hot flashes Upset stomach. Psychological symptoms of social anxiety disorder (social phobia) Intense worry for days. does interfere with your normal routine and causes tremendous distress. For example. or start shaking so bad during the speech that you can hardly speak. you might worry for weeks ahead of time. or even months before an upcoming social situation. speaking to adults. taking tests. But if you have social anxiety disorder. nausea Dry mouth Trembling or shaking Muscle tension Blushing Dizziness. call in sick to get out of it. but children with social anxiety disorder (social phobia) experience extreme distress over everyday activities and situations such as playing with other kids. it¶s perfectly normal to get the jitters before giving a speech. weeks. on the other hand. reading in class. especially people you don¶t know.Just because you occasionally get nervous in social situations doesn¶t mean you have social anxiety disorder. Many people are shy or self-conscious ² at least from time to time ² yet it doesn¶t get in the way of their everyday functioning. Extreme fear of being watched or judged by others. or social phobia. Social anxiety disorder.
Often. levels of anxiety. Coffee. When you¶re sleep deprived. Lifestyle changes for social anxiety disorder (social phobia) While lifestyle changes alone aren¶t enough to overcome social anxiety disorder. Medication for social anxiety disorder (social phobia) Medication is sometimes used to relieve the symptoms of social anxiety. you can overcome your social anxiety if seek the help you need and make a commitment to treatment. caffeinated soda. they can support your overall treatment progress. not lower. in reality. Medication is considered most helpful when used in addition to therapy and other self-help techniques that address the root cause of social anxiety disorder. children with social phobia don¶t want to go to school. you¶re more vulnerable to anxiety. You may be tempted to drink before a party or other social situation in order to calm your nerves. Get adequate sleep. Being well rested will help you stay calm in social situations. But whatever your approach. but alcohol increases your risk of having an anxiety attack. If you stop taking medication. Nicotine is a powerful stimulant. Smoking leads to higher. or you may need professional help as well. but it¶s not a cure for social anxiety disorder or social phobia. energy drinks. The following lifestyle tips will help you reduce your overall anxiety levels and set the stage for successful treatment: Avoid or limit caffeine.front of others. Quit smoking. Drink only in moderation. such as therapy or medication. . your symptoms will probably return full force. and chocolate act as stimulants that increase anxiety symptoms. there are many things that can help. You may find that self-help strategies are enough to ease your anxiety symptoms. Getting help for social anxiety disorder (social phobia) While it may seem like there¶s nothing you can do about the symptoms of social anxiety disorder (social phobia). tea. The best treatment approach for social anxiety disorder varies from person to person.
or social phobia. However. you¶ll feel and function better. rather than avoiding them. they are sedating and addictive. and your feelings affect your behavior. replacing them with more balanced views. and rapid heartbeat. systematic way. they can control physical symptoms such as shaking hands or voice. sweating. Effexor.Three types of medication are used in the treatment of social anxiety disorder (social phobia): Beta blockers± Beta blockers are used for relieving performance anxiety. and Zoloft²have been approved by the U. Three specific antidepressants²Paxil. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of social phobia. While beta blockers don¶t affect the emotional symptoms of anxiety. For more about the medications used to treat social anxiety disorder. Benzodiazepines ± Benzodiazepines are fast-acting anti-anxiety medications. unhelpful thoughts that trigger and fuel social anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the premise that what you think affects how you feel. They work by blocking the flow of adrenaline that occurs when you¶re anxious. so they are typically prescribed only when other medications for social phobia have not worked.S. Facing the social situations you fear in a gradual. . Challenging negative. see: Anxiety Medication: What You Need to Know About Drugs for Anxiety Antidepressants: What You Need to Know About Depression Medications Therapy for social anxiety disorder (social phobia) Of all the treatments available. cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to work the best for treating social anxiety disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for social phobia typically involves: Learning how to control the physical symptoms of anxiety through relaxation techniques and breathing exercises. Antidepressants ± Antidepressants can be helpful when social anxiety disorder is severe and debilitating. So if you change the way you think about social situations that give you anxiety.
see Therapy for Anxiety Disorders. Group therapy for social anxiety disorder uses acting. Overbreathing throws off the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body ² triggering additional physical anxiety symptoms such as dizziness. often as part of a therapy group.Other cognitive-behavioral techniques for social anxiety disorder include role-playing and social skills training. videotaping and observing. mock interviews. many anxiety therapies are relatively short-term. As you practice and prepare for situations you¶re afraid of. One of the first changes is that you begin to breathe quickly. To learn more about the types of therapy that help anxiety. And many of the techniques you learn can be practiced at home and put into daily use. you will become more and more comfortable and confident in your social abilities. Social anxiety disorder treatment #1: Reducing physical symptoms of anxiety Many changes happen in your body when you become anxious. Learning more about therapy for social phobia The length of therapy treatment for social anxiety disorder will differ from person to person. and other exercises to work on situations that make you anxious in the real world. . Learning to slow your breathing down can help you bring your physical symptoms of anxiety back under control. and muscle tension. a feeling of suffocation. However. increased heart rate. and your anxiety will lessen.
while the hand on your chest should move very little.´ ³I won¶t have anything to say . Exhale slowly through your mouth for 6 seconds. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. If you have social anxiety disorder. and other Relaxation Techniques. Focus on keeping a slow and steady breathing pattern of 4-in. and 6-out.´ ³My voice will start shaking and I¶ll humiliate myself. regular practice of relaxation techniques such as meditation. pushing out as much air as you can. or social phobia. The hand on your stomach should rise. 2-hold. Meditation. you may find yourself overwhelmed by thoughts like: ³I know I¶ll end up looking like a fool. Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. see Stress Relief: Yoga. Hold the breath for 2 seconds. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale.´ ³People will think I¶m stupid. but your other hand should move very little. Social anxiety disorder treatment #2: Challenging negative thoughts Social anxiety sufferers have negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to their anxiety. Relaxation techniques for anxiety relief In addition to deep breathing exercises. and progressive muscle relaxation will also help you get control over the physical symptoms of anxiety.Practicing the following breathing exercise will help you decrease the physical symptoms of anxiety and stay calm: Sit comfortably with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose for 4 seconds. yoga. For step-by-step advice on getting started.
Fortune telling ± Predicting the future. is one effective way to reduce the symptoms of social anxiety disorder. and that they see you in the same negative way that you see yourself. . if youµre worried about an upcoming work presentation. It helps to ask yourself questions about the negative thoughts: ³Do I know for sure that I¶m going to blow the presentation?´ or ³Even if I¶m nervous. Unhelpful thinking styles involved in social phobia In particular.´ or ³disastrous. you can gradually replace them with more realistic and positive ways of looking at social situations that trigger your anxiety. Everyone will think I¶m completely incompetent. will people necessarily think I¶m incompetent?´ Through this logical evaluation of your negative thoughts. pay attention to what is happening around you. so you¶re already anxious before you¶re even in the situation. Catastrophizing ± Blowing things out of proportion. How can I stop thinking that everyone is looking at me? In order to reduce self-focus. For example.Challenging these negative thoughts.´ The next step is to analyze and challenge them. You just ³know´ that things will go horribly. The first step is to identify the automatic negative thoughts that underlie your fear of social situations. it will be ³awful.´ ³terrible. either through therapy or on your own. the underlying negative thought might be: ³I¶m going to blow it.´ Personalizing ± Assuming that people are focusing on you in a negative way or that what¶s going on with other people has to do with you. rather than monitoring yourself or focusing on symptoms of anxiety in your body: Look at other people and the surroundings. usually while assuming the worst will happen. If people notice that you¶re nervous. ask yourself if you¶re engaging in any of the following unhelpful thinking styles: Mind reading ± Assuming you know what other people are thinking.
other people will contribute. you can do it by taking it one small step at a time. It¶s never a good idea to move too fast. or social phobia. Use the skills you¶ve learned to stay calm. or force things. While it may seem impossible to overcome a feared social situation.Really listen to what is being said (not to your own negative thoughts). the more frightening it becomes. It prevents you from becoming more comfortable in social situations and learning how to cope. if socializing with strangers makes you anxious. Once you¶re comfortable with that step. building your confidence and coping skills as you move up the ³anxiety ladder. Be patient. Adapted from: Moodjuice Social anxiety disorder treatment #3: Gradually facing your fears One of the most helpful things you can do to overcome social anxiety disorder. Overcoming social anxiety takes time and practice. The key is to start with a situation that you can handle and gradually work your way up to more challenging situations. Beating social phobia by building better relationships Actively seeking out and joining supportive social environments is another effective way of tackling and overcoming social phobia. the more you avoid a feared social situation. Working your way up the social phobia ³anxiety ladder´ Don¶t try to face your biggest fear right away. Don't take all the responsibility for keeping conversations going² silence is okay. In fact.´ For example. It¶s a gradual step-by-step progress. you might try introducing yourself to one new person. is to face the social situations you fear rather than avoid them. and so on. you might start by accompanying an outgoing friend to a party. This will backfire and reinforce your anxiety. take on too much. Avoidance keeps social anxiety disorder going. such as focusing on your breathing and challenging negative assumptions. The .
emotionally-intelligent communication. Work on your communication skills. Related Articles . or stuffing envelopes for a campaign ² anything that will give you an activity to focus on while you are also engaging with a small number of like-minded people. For more on how to build these skills. Volunteer doing something you enjoy.following suggestions are good ways to start interacting with others in positive ways: Take a social skills class or an assertiveness training class. These classes are often offered at local adult education centers or community colleges. learning the basic skills of emotional intelligence can help. If you find that you have trouble connecting to others. see Relationship Help: Building Great Relationships with Emotional Intelligence Tools. Good relationships depend on clear. such as walking dogs in a shelter.
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