Social Anxiety Disorder

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Social anxiety disorder otherwise known as social phobia, is a fear of social situations and interaction with others such as in group activities, busy supermarkets etc. It may also be a fear of talking to someone on the telephone.

What is social anxiety disorder?

Have you ever been standing in line at a supermarket queue, or sitting on a bus and thought that everyone is looking at you? A person with social anxiety disorder finds it hard to relax in public places such as work, college, supermarkets. They feel like everyone is watching them and judging them or even laughing at them.

Social anxiety is one of the largest mental health disorders in the world. Affecting about 8% of the population.

When faced with going shopping, talking on the phone, or meeting strangers, some people experience the following symptoms; blushing, sweating, increased heart beat, trembling/shaking of the limbs, dry mouth and in most cases an inability to speak.

Social anxiety disorder is sometimes mistaken for shyness and although there are similar they are not the same. Someone who is shy may experience anxiety but not on the same level as someone with social anxiety disorder. Someone who is shy will not avoid a social situation because of the anxiety they feel whereas someone with social anxiety disorder will. 

Who is affected by social anxiety disorder? 

Social anxiety disorder affects around 10-15% of people in the community at some point in their lives. Anyone can get social anxiety disorder and the condition usually starts during the early teens.

Effects of social anxiety disorder on your life:

Social anxiety can stop you living a normal socially active life. It can effect what kind of job you go for. People with social anxiety disorder will often work in jobs that get them away from other people, avoiding contact with customers and work colleagues. Jobs with low pay and a low amount of skills need even though they are capable of doing something more rewarding. People with social anxiety find it hard meeting new people and often are less likely of getting married or having a successful long term relationship then people who are not affected by social anxiety disorder.

Treatment for social anxiety disorder

There are two mains ways of treating social anxiety disorder. One is to get psychological treatment. The second is medication, there are several different medications that can help. You doctor will discuss with you which would be the best for you. It is sometimes recommended by professionals to use both psychological treatment and medication.

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