UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER

 

     Social Anxiety Disorder typically begins during childhood or adolescence and, without treatment, can continue indefinitely.  Those who have experienced long-term stress, trauma, emotional abuse, an excessively controlling parent, or bullying have an increased risk of developing Social Anxiety Disorder.  Specific situations can include eating in front of another person, speaking in front of a crowd, or talking to a stranger.  Broader situations can include speaking to anyone other than a family member and leaving one’s house.  In more severe cases, this disorder can cause a constant state of distress, often leading to isolation and withdrawal from all social opportunities.  Those with Social Anxiety Disorder often know that their fearful thoughts are unreasonable or unwarranted but remain trapped in a cycle of social avoidance.  

     If you have experienced at least 4 of the following symptoms on a frequent basis, you could have Social Anxiety Disorder.  These symptoms include: (1) difficulty talking to others, (2) self-consciousness in front of others, (3) frequent feelings of embarrassment, (4) intense fear of rejection or judgment by others, (5) worrying for days or weeks before a public event, (6) experiencing extreme anxiety or panic about social situations, (7) avoidance of public places, (8) difficulty making and keeping friends, (9) blushing, sweating, experiencing nausea, or trembling around others, and (10) using alcohol or other substances to calm oneself during social situations.

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