Many people get nervous before a speech, a date, or being called on to answer a question in the big company meeting. That is not uncommon. However, for people who suffer from social anxiety disorder (SAD), situations like these, and others are unbearable.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states on its website that social anxiety disorder affects 6.8% of people in the United States. That means that social anxiety disorder impacts 15 million adults in the U.S.
The unfortunate part is that an ADAA survey found that 36% of people who suffer from social anxiety disorder wait ten years or more before seeking help in finding relief.
In this blog, we'll look at what social anxiety disorder is, its symptoms, the causes, and treatment for social anxiety disorder.
Social anxiety symptoms
The symptoms of social anxiety disorder can vary for each person who suffers from the disorder. But they can often include the following:
Social Anxiety causes
The causes of social anxiety disorder are complex and interlaced with both biological and environmental factors. In other words, a child who is genetically predisposed to the disorder may progressively get worse because of social factors such as being harassed at school.
WebMD reports no one thing causes social anxiety disorder. Evidence shows that genetics could be a factor, or having an overactive amygdala can also be a reason. This is the part of the brain that controls a person's fear response.
Social anxiety disorder usually surfaces as a young teenager, and it often can be linked to previous abuse and bullying. Other risk factors include growing up being more on the shy side and having certain health conditions.
How Social Anxiety Disorder Affects People
Unfortunately, people who experience social anxiety can suffer many disheartening side effects. As reported by the Mayo Clinic, these side effects can include low self-esteem, issues with taking charge (being assertive), being overly-critical of one’s self, being hypersensitive, poor social skills, and substance abuse, to name a few.
Additionally, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reports that people who suffer from social anxiety disorder are twice as likely to be unemployed.
And, with dating and relationships, many people who suffer from SAD encounter many issues. People with social anxiety disorder have a harder time establishing new relationships with people because they avoid people. This can often lead to loneliness, having fewer friendships, and lessening the chances of having a meaningful and intimate relationship with another person.
Treatment for Social Anxiety
Treatment for social anxiety will often depend on the severity of a patient who is diagnosed with the disorder. Common types of treatment are psychotherapy (mental health counseling), medications, or both.
Psychotherapy can be very effective in working to combat the symptoms of social anxiety disorder. In working with a counselor, a patient learns to recognize and change their thought patterns.
There are several types of medications available to treat social anxiety successfully. Doctors will often use antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and beta-blockers to help treat SAD.
"Learning to overcome social anxiety involves moving outside comfort zones while allowing uncomfortable feelings to stay present. Rather than getting rid of anxiety, you learn to live life fully with it," says Megan Logan, MSW, LCSW.
In this blog, we discussed what social anxiety disorder (SAD) is. We looked at symptoms, causes, and how it can affect people's lives. But, also, we looked at how people can overcome social anxiety disorder with the help of treatment that includes mental health counseling and medication.
If social anxiety impacts your daily life, work, or relationships, there is help. Getting started on a treatment plan can get you feeling better soon.
And, if you are worried about privacy issues with seeking treatment, consider a telemedicine appointment. A telemedicine counseling session will allow you to get the treatment you need from the comfort of your home—without ever having to leave the house.
If you are ready to start feeling better and seeing life differently, please drop me a line, I would love to help you.