While staying in just one place may keep you safe and secure, it is actually not healthy to develop fear of other people and the environment. Know more about social anxiety and why it is considered a disorder.
What is social anxiety?
Social anxiety is a form of anxiety disorder in which an individual is hampered from doing everyday things that require social interaction. For the individual, this is often a painful realization because he or she apparently cannot do simple things such as buying from a grocery, mingling in a party, and asking help from others.
Social anxiety is different from being just shy, as sufferers often are debilitated considerably and may experience ostracism from having this disorder. Social anxiety actually causes an overwhelming fear and leaves an individual helpless in dealing with others.
Understanding social phobias
Social phobias must be differentiated from other forms of anxiety. Unlike panic attacks, social anxious patients do not experience an abrupt unprovoked fear. They experience fear in relation to dealing with others.
Social phobias have two types: generalized social phobias and specialized social phobias.
General social phobia refers to a difficulty in most or almost all social situations. Sufferers could be described as being “painfully shy”, not able to mingle with others, perhaps in fear of rejection.
Specialized social phobia, on the other hand, is characterized by anxiety triggered by specific situations. Sufferers of this type of social phobia may have an acute fear of speaking or writing in public, using restrooms, or eating in public places alone.
How to deal with social anxiety
Social anxiety is considered by almost all clinicians today as an illness in its own right, not just a manifestation of other conditions. As such, many interventions are recommended for this disorder. Most treatments are psychological, including systematic desensitization, in which patients are slowly and gradually made tolerant of experiences that trigger their fears.
Cognitive behavior therapy includes the adoption of schemas that enable an individual to conquer their fears. Group therapies allow sufferers to draw on each other’s experiences and allay their fears. Drugs such as anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication more often supplement the above-mentioned treatments.
So, if a friend or a family member is suffering from this social disorder, do not just let him be. Help him conquer his social fears and make him face the world with courage and confidence. Do not let him live his life in the shadows and not be able to see and appreciate the real beauty of life.