Social anxiety disorder, otherwise know as SAD, also known as social phobia, is the most common anxiety disorder among other types of anxiety disorder. It is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, with 12% of Americans having experienced it in their lifetime. It is known and labelled by intense fear in one or more social situations, causing considerable distress and impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life. Most people that goes through anxiety attack rarely knows what is going on with them.
person with social anxiety disorder is afraid that he or she will make mistakes, look
bad, and be embarrassed or humiliated in front of others. The fear may be made
worse by a lack of social skills or experience in social situations. The anxiety can build into a panic attack.
As a result of the fear, the person endures certain social situations in extreme distress or may avoid them altogether.
In addition, people with social anxiety disorder often suffer “anticipatory” anxiety — the fear of a situation before it even happens — for days or weeks before the event.
In many cases, the person is aware that the fear is unreasonable, yet is unable to overcome it.
People with social phobia become very anxious and self-conscious in everyday social situations. They have an intense, persistent, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others, and of doing things that will embarrass them. They can worry for days or weeks before a dreaded situation. This fear may become so severe that it interferes with work, school, and other ordinary activities, and can make it hard to make and keep friends.
Although many people with social phobia realize that their fears about being with people are excessive or unreasonable, they are unable to overcome them on their own.
Social phobia can be limited to one situation (such as talking to people, eating or drinking, or writing on a blackboard in front of others). Or, it may be so broad (such as in generalized social phobia) that the person experiences anxiety around almost everyone other than family members.
Physical symptoms that often occur with social phobia include:
The goal of treatment is to help you function effectively. The success of the treatment usually depends on the severity of the phobia.
Anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications are sometimes used to help relieve the symptoms of phobias. See: Panic Disorder for more information about medications.
Behavioral treatment appears to have long-lasting benefits.
•Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you understand and change the thoughts that are causing your condition, as well as learn to recognize and replace panic-causing thoughts.
•Systematic desensitization or exposure therapy may be used to treat phobias. You are asked to relax, then imagine the things that cause the anxiety, working from the least fearful to the most fearful. Gradual exposure to the real-life situation has also been used with success to help people overcome their fears.
•Social skills training may involve social contact in a group therapy situation to practice social skills. Role playing and modeling are techniques used to help you become more comfortable relating to others in a social situation.
Lifestyle changes may help reduce how often the attacks occur.
•Get regular exercise, enough sleep, and regularly scheduled meals.
•Reduce or avoid the use of caffeine, some over-the-counter cold medicines, and other stimulants.