Social Anxiety Disorder.
Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, is the fear of being in a social situation because it feels like you’re constantly being scrutinized, evaluated, or judged. For someone suffering from a social anxiety disorder, the thought of a social setting is paralyzing. In fact, this disorder can be so severe, if left untreated, that it can alter daily life, add stress to relationships, and impact the work-life balance, among other effects.
Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder
In the new world age of social media and everything turning digital, it’s normal to feel nervous or anxious in certain situations. Especially when you consider how the world changed post-pandemic, returning to social settings can seem overwhelming. However, when you experience severe symptoms of social anxiety disorder for longer than six months it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional.
A licensed healthcare professional will evaluate your symptoms based on the standards of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) which include but are not limited to:
- Intense fear or anxiety about social situations because you believe you’re being judged, scrutinized, or humiliated by others
- Avoiding social situations
- Experiencing intense social phobia that is out of proportion to the situation
- Allowing the fear and anxiety to interfere/alter your daily life
Whether it’s a special occasion like a job interview or a simple daily task like making a phone call, the effects of SAD can be paralyzing. It may be at work or school setting where social interaction consistently provokes distress. This prohibits and disrupts much of their daily lives and routines. A licensed healthcare professional will be able to run a few tests and ask questions about your history and symptoms before making a proper diagnosis.
Studies have shown that treatment for SAD has been proven effective so returning to your normal life begins when you take the first step. On the other hand, symptoms of social anxiety disorder that are left untreated can be detrimental to one’s mental health.
Most Common Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder
There are many options for therapy to overcome social anxiety disorder that has been proven. The most common is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This form of psychological treatment is popular among anxiety treatments. It typically takes place over multiple sessions through talk therapy where you learn to slowly face situations you fear the most.
A highly trained professional is able to guide you through difficult situations so you can learn to respond and cope with the fear. Cognitive behavioral therapy is often combined with anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication. It’s important to discuss with your doctor safe options for treating social anxiety disorder to ensure you get the most out of therapy.
Alternative Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder
Many have found that herbal treatments also help ease the anxiety that social settings can stir up. Studies show that herbs like chamomile and lavender bring a sense of relaxation and relief that can temporarily ease one’s mind and emotions. You can find herbal supplements in capsule (pill) form or in tea at your local supermarket.
Social Anxiety Disorder and Substance Abuse
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. Unfortunately, 40 million American adults are affected by anxiety. The sad reality is when these symptoms are not properly treated, they often lead people to self-medicate or find unhealthy ways to cope with their anxiety. Research has proven that having an anxiety disorder increases the chances of someone developing a substance abuse disorder.
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