People, who suffer from social phobia or have a social anxiety disorder, are often so terrified to be among other people that they are inclined to withdraw from social interaction completely.
Even if they have a great desire to be around other people, they feel awkward, clumsy or wrong, and are afraid of what others think about them. At worst, they are so hampered by their fear that they can’t cope with education and jobs where they have to be around a lot of people every day. Also often, they choose to live alone without a partner because they do not dare to contact the other sex.
There are many men and women who have social anxiety. It is estimated that between five and seven percent of the population suffer from social anxiety in a more or less severely degree.
Social anxiety disorder usually begins in adolescence.
The symptoms of social anxiety disorder:
The chances of generating social anxiety disorder are partly innate. But it is also of great importance whether a person grew up in an environment where he or she felt insecure and anxious. When diagnosing social anxiety disorders the following questions might be asked.
- Do you care much of what others are thinking about one, and are you are afraid of being criticized others?
- Are you afraid of behaving in an embarrassing way, and do you avoid getting into situations where others will notice you?
- Do you have physical symptoms like palpitations and tingling in your hands? Do you sweat often, getting nausea and feel like you have to throw up? Do you get dizzy and feel a tightness in the chest?
How is social anxiety disorder diagnosed?
If you have social phobia, you will often feel that others are noticing and evaluating you in a critical way.
It can lead to avoiding eating among others, to avoid speaking in front of a greater or smaller group, or even eliminating the chances of dating a new partner. You become visibly nervous in such situations. Shaky hands, you blush or feel that you have to throw up. Often you will have symptoms from several different anxiety disorders at the same time and sometimes you can also get symptoms of depression.
When diagnosing a person with social anxiety that person has at least one of the following symptoms:
- Heart rushes
- Dry mouth
- Shaky hands.
If the person “only” has one of the above symptoms, they should also have at least one of the following symptoms:
- Problems with breathing
- Choking sensations
- Chest tightness
- Turmoil in the stomach
- Fear of losing self control
- Fear of dying
- Hot flushes or chills
- Numbness or tingling in the fingertips or elsewhere
And also have at least one of the following “symptoms”:
- People are scared of blushing
- People are scared that they have to throw up
- People are scared that they need to use the toilet
Additionally, the following criteria:
- People are very bothered by anxiety or by the efforts they take to avoid anxiety
- They believe that the fear is excessive or unreasonable
- They have not been diagnosed with a psychotic illness, depression or a disease of the brain itself, eg a brain injury.
Social anxiety usually begins in adolescence. There is a good chance to get better or to be completely healed, if they get psychotherapy at that stage.
If you have social phobia, you risk isolating yourself, even if you try not to. This could also develop into a depression or portal into a drug addiction and it is therefore important that you do something else to counteract symptoms than simply soothe them with alcohol or sedatives.
Psychotherapy: You can get behavioral therapy, where you learn to be around other people. For example therapy, conducted in groups with others who have similar problems, where are practicing difficult issues, like eating together, talking with others or give lectures to each other.
Medication: If you suffer from severe social anxiety, it may be appropriate to take medication at the beginning and then as psychotherapy works to staircase out of medicine. The medicines you take for social anxiety disorder is antidepressants. You can also take benzodiazepines, ie. tranquilizers. It works quickly and effectively to fear, but is addictive if used for more than a few weeks.
Many people do not believe that their social anxiety is an illness and they believe that it can’t be treated. But it can and it is important to get treatment because it might otherwise never improve and you will live a lonely and isolated life. At worst, you risk developing depression. It is therefore important that you see a doctor if you experience the symptoms.