What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social Anxiety Disorder, also known as social phobia, is the feeling of extreme fear of judgement of scrutiny in social or performance situations. It has the power to disrupt daily life by limiting or preventing social and romantic relationships. Social anxiety disorder can also impact professional or academic performance and can result in a very isolated existence.
When Does It Start?
The typical onset of social anxiety disorder is approximately 13 years of age. Some early signs in children younger than 13 include:
- clinging behavior
- selective mutism
Due to the fact that those who suffer with this disorder find it difficult to speak up and advocate for themselves, approximately 36% of those with the disorder go undiagnosed and untreated for 10+ years before seeking help.
How Does Social Anxiety Disorder Work?
Those who suffer from this disorder often feel ashamed, alone, and a lack of control over themselves. They experience life with a regular fright of embarrassment or humiliation.
Physical symptoms of social anxiety disorder include:
- excessive blushing
- abdominal distress
- increased heart rate
- feeling of losing control
The disorder can also be present in general social interactions or more selectively, such as during participation in classes or meetings, or in dating situations. Individuals with social anxiety disorder tend to be prone to substance abuse in an attempt to self-medicate and ease their symptoms.
How Is It Treated?
Treatment for social anxiety disorder includes therapy, medication, a combination of therapy and medication, and/or complementary and alternative methods such as yoga or acupuncture. The vast majority of individuals who seek treatment will see a marked improvement in their symptoms and are able to overcome the fears holding them back from their goals. If you or someone you know may suffer from social anxiety disorder, a Proliance Center professional is ready help!