Social anxiety disorder is typically characterized by a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of being embarrassed or humiliated by one’s actions. The fear may be so severe that it interferes with work, school, and other ordinary activities. The fear may be limited to one type of situation such as public speaking or test anxiety, or it may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime he or she is around other people. Symptoms accompanying this condition may include blushing, profuse sweating, trembling, difficulty talking, and nausea or other stomach discomfort. The fear may be intense enough to cause a panic attack.
Early Onset – Social Anxiety Disorder Starts in Childhood
Social anxiety disorders, also known as social phobias may be chronic by nature and result in the disability that leaves the patient to suffer in silence as those people surrounding them are unable to understand what is causing the patient to act in a strange manner. A person that suffers from social anxiety disorder cannot handle everyday situations because of the overwhelming anxiety and self consciousness he or she feels.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NMH) reveals the following statistics regarding social anxiety disorders in the United States. It is believed that 5.3 million adult Americans or supposedly 3.7 per cent of the total population suffer from social anxiety disorders and that this is twice as prevalent amongst women as compared with their male counterparts. Social anxiety disorder may often begin during childhood or when the patient is in the adolescent years and mostly does not occur after a person has reached the age of 25.
When such anxiety becomes very severe the patient may even attempt suicide. The feelings that the patient experiences are of such intensity that it becomes very uncontrollable, though these vary from person to person and different people have different anxieties about their social situations.
Social Situations and management of Social Anxiety Disorders
By and large, a person suffering from social anxiety disorder will feel excessive fear that everybody seems to be concentrating their attention on him or her. They may also fear that they will be error-prone and everybody will notice the mistakes that he or she makes. The patient may also suffer from a feeling of inadequacy in that he or she feels that others are much more capable than him or may feel that others are passing judgments about them. There is also a sense that he would end up embarrassing himself in front of others.
When a situation arises that causes the patient to feel intense anxiety it may lead to the patient feeling nauseous, trembling, heart keeps pounding, blushing, sweating as well as stammering. There are cases when the anxiety manifests itself into a panic attack and such symptoms only end up causing the patient further embarrassment.
A person afflicted with a social anxiety disorder may only feel comfortable with close friends and other family members, while some only fear certain social situations. There are also instances when the patient cannot deal normally with persons in authoritative positions and public speaking is another social fear as too are using public restrooms, eating out, using the telephone as well as writing in front of others.