Are you one of the millions of people who suffer from symptoms of social anxiety? Social anxiety disorder, or SAD, can be characterized by an overwhelming fear of being scrutinized or judged by others in social situations.
But this isn’t just your basic worry most people feel when entering a new social situation or standing up in front of a group of people. This fear is paralyzing and persists even when one recognizes the worry is excessive or unreasonable.
Studies suggest social anxiety is relatively common and most often begins in middle to late adolescence and presents as the third most common mental health disorder behind depression and alcohol dependence. The symptoms of social anxiety last a lifetime for most.
Signs of Social Anxiety
Many patients with SAD report symptoms began in early childhood. As children they appeared extremely shy, socially inhibited, or suffered from performance anxiety when speaking in front of the class. In adulthood, symptoms usually present as typical signs of an anxiety disorder, such as racing heart or heart palpitations or heart constriction, sweating, nausea, dizziness, shaking and a sense of panic. These signs most often occur with the anticipation of a social event, or the requirement of standing before a group of people.
Treatment for Social Anxiety
Two types of treatment are typically used in treating SAD. Medications, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have the highest rates of efficacy in treating this particular disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a specific type of therapy that is also effective in interrupting the cycle of apprehension, avoidance and anxiety. Studies show each treatment method is equally effective in reducing symptoms and improving quality of life for those who suffer.