MANAGING SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER
The concept of fear dated back as far as 400 BC. During this time, Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician described the overly shy person as “someone who loves darkness as life and thinks every man observes him”. When fear is persistent and exaggerated, it results to tension and stress and consequently, anxiety.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines anxiety as “a nervous disorder marked by a feeling of uneasiness”. An anxiety disorder involves an excessive or inappropriate state of arousal characterized by feelings of apprehension, uncertainty, or fear. There are seven common types of anxiety disorders. They include generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and phobias. Others are, post-traumatic stress disorder, separation disorder, and social anxiety disorder (SAD) which is the focus of this paper. 3.
The Microsoft Encarta defines SAD as “the fear of being publicly scrutinized and humiliated”. It exceeds normal fear and sometimes leads to excessive social avoidance and substantial social or occupational impairment. The fear may be made worse by a lack of social skills or experience in social situations.
The most common type of SAD is the fear of public speaking or performing in front of an audience. While everyone must have experienced anxiety at one point in time, people with SAD suffer from anxiety almost all the time. Sometimes, it can be so severe that they begin to experience panic. Sadly, most of these individuals think they can never control their fears or find a way out of this condition. While this may be true, it is important to note that effects of SAD can be resolved. The purpose of this paper therefore is to highlight ways of dealing with SAD. The paper will take a look at the types of SAD and the causes of SAD. Thereafter it will focus on the signs and symptoms of SAD and lastly it will examine the possible ways of managing SAD.
The aim of this paper is to discuss the management of SAD.
TYPES OF SAD
There are two main types of SAD. They are:
Generalised SAD. A generalized SAD refers to fears associated with most social and performance situations such as speaking to authority figures, going on dates, starting conversations, and giving speeches. It is a more severe form of anxiety disorder and is thus, usually accompanied by greater impairment in day-to-day functioning.
Specific SAD involves the fear a particular situation. For example, an individual may be able to dance comfortably in a party yet have a dreadful fear of speaking in public. Therefore the individual avoids public speaking as much as possible.
CAUSES OF SAD
The causes of SAD include the following:
Hereditary factors such as genes and abnormal chromosomes.
Over protective upbringing thereby causing the child to lack self initiative or self confidence.
Parental deprivation or attention-deficit causing the child to become withdrawn even when in the company of others.
Psychosocial factors which deals with the physical and psychological aspects of an individual.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF SAD
According to Sidney Herbert, a social psychologist, the signs and symptoms of SAD can be viewed from 3 main aspects. They are:
Cognitive Aspects. In cognitive models of SAD, social phobics experience great anticipation over how they will be presented to others. They may be overly self-conscious, pay high self-attention after the activity, or have high performance standards for themselves. Many times, prior to the potentially anxiety-provoking social situation, sufferers may deliberately go over what could go wrong and how to deal with each unexpected case. Consequently, they may have the perception they performed unsatisfactory.
References: 5. Shyness & Social Anxiety Treatment Australia Social Phobia – Causes. Retrieved February 22, 2006.
7. Social Anxiety Disorder: A Common, Underrecognized Mental Disorder. American Family Physician. Nov 15, 1999.
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