Social Anxiety Disorder
At one time or the other in our life, most of us would have certainly gone through the instances when we feel nervous and caught by fear. E.g. in public speaking, the very fact that hundreds of eyes are staring at us, makes us feel nervous and the moment that speech or presentation is over, one feels so relaxed. Such feeling of fear and nervousness triggered by other similar social situations is normal to a human being and even necessary in many cases. E.g. imagine the consequences if you do not react to a mad dog running towards you? The fear is blessing in such cases.
What is Anxiety?
However, the problem arises when the fear is triggered by circumstances which normally shouldn’t have resulted in fear and nervousness i.e. the irrational fear. It is the fear which becomes a hurdle in the way of normal day-to-day life. It is that irrational fear which we call anxiety. E.g. if a student while leaving his home for school, keeps on thinking all the way about the same ‘tense’ class atmosphere where the very feeling of a demanding teacher haunts the student, and he is so obsessed with that feeling that it makes him feel sick, it is something to be worried about. It is not rational when we compare it to the majority of his other fellows. The feeling that he won’t be able to adjust to that environment or come up to his teacher’s expectation or that something would go wrong, is not rational or normal. Such irrational fear is what we call anxiety.
Symptoms of Anxiety
You might be suffering from anxiety if you notice some common symptoms in you e.g. one of the most common symptom is that the victim feels that everything will end up into the worst possible outcome. This fear becomes a great hurdle in the way of realizing your potentials. It totally breaks your concentration, diminishes your short-term memory and creates difficulties in the way of getting a sound sleep. Not only does it affect your sleep but most of the time you feel extremely depressed and obsessed with that fear.
The symptoms related to mental distress also show their effects on body’s proper functioning. E.g. the victim might always feel out of breath no matter how much he or she tries to relax. The pulse rate always seems to be very fast and you feel as if adrenaline is constantly being released in your body. Such symptoms may further lead to the complete loss of appetite feeling the need of frequent urination, and constant headache. The victim feels as if he has a low blood pressure and he undergoes dizziness in some cases. You may also feel as if some needles are being pierced in some part of the body e.g. in your upper arm.
However, the symptoms can significantly vary from one person to the other. It is not necessary that one develops all the symptoms mentioned above. Some other symptoms may include muscle aches, tremors, stomach upsets and excessive thirst. Women may also undergo painful periods or even the complete absence of periods. Loss of sexual drive is another symptom.
If you have a feeling that you are suffering from anxiety and it is hampering your normal day-to-day life, you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible. It would be better if you put a halt to it in early stages. A Cognitive Behavior Therapy can be very helpful in getting rid of anxiety. It helps relieve the stress arising due to anxiety.
Social Anxiety Disorder is one of the very common and at the same time, very troubling psychiatric disorder. People suffering from social anxiety disorder are afraid of social conditions and they can become physically sick in social situations. Thus social anxiety disorder is capable of totally hampering your social life. Every aspect, whether married life, financial life or social life, is severely affected and patient’s self esteem suffers a lot.
Fortunately, you can get help to minimize and gradually reduce the stress and get rid of sickness. Various medications, counseling and support groups are of great help against this disorder. But at the same time, you, yourself, need to take a few steps for self-help which would take you out of this agony.
Causes of Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is a psychological disorder which is characterized by the fear of those situations which involve interaction with others. The victims feel uncomfortable because of the feeling that they are being judged, watched and noticed by others. This disorder is sometimes mistaken with shyness or low self-esteem.
There are several causes of social anxiety disorder which can be identified, however, there is not always possible to find out the cause in many cases.
Causes of Social Anxiety Disorder
One of the common causes of social anxiety is a traumatic past social experience. Some childhood experiences like being picked on or being made fun of, can have long-lasting impact and may not be easily forgotten. However, a bad experience during adulthood can also lead to social anxiety. According to some researchers, the social anxiety resulting from adult social traumatic experience can be easily dealt with because the person only needs to regain self-confidence. However, the assumption varies from person to person.
The other common cause of social anxiety disorder is thought to be the learned behavior. E.g. if the parents fear social situations, it is likely that the child would also be a victim of social anxiety because as children, most of our behavior is shaped by what we learn from others around us. However, there are also a lot of chances that the children who have parents with outgoing personalities, may also develop social anxiety as a result. This is because of the fear that those they would not be able to live up to those levels of social interactions which have been set by their parents and hence they become socially afraid and passive.
Sometimes, the social anxiety can be a result of inaccurate information or improper attitude from others. E.g. if a girl is a tomboy as a child, she might face pressure from her parents and friends etc to act like a girl and she might be discourages from all such acts which are socially associated with boys, and hence she may develop a fear to face the social gatherings assuming that she is not a normal social girl. This feeling can have long-lasting impact as she grows up. E.g. she may face a problem in her love relationship because she may feel inferior because of her ‘not lady like’ attitude and may feel that no body would be interested to develop relationships with such a tomboy type girl. She would always feel as if she is being judges for her abnormal personality which does not fit in the society.
Today, researchers have also started believing that social anxiety is something capable of being inherited genetically. The assumption is based on the observation that the identical twins are seen to develop same social anxiety conditions, whereas, the fraternal twins do not usually show such alike behavior. However, the research is still going on and nothing can be said with certainty.
Above mentioned causes are the most commonly found causes of social anxiety disorder, however, the causes may differ from one person to the other and researchers believe that therapy is an effective way to diagnose the underlying cause. Once the cause has been identified, it becomes easier to overcome the social anxiety disorder.