Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder is an anxiety disorder in which a person has an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations. Some of the most commonly reported social situations—speaking in public, eating or working in front or others, being the center of attention, interacting with people, giving reports or asking questions in groups, using public toilets—are ones mandated by life in the modern world. At such an event, a person with social anxiety disorder is often extremely nervous and self-conscious, paralyzed by a persistent fear of being closely observed, judged or criticized by others. As a consequence, it often leads a person suffering from the disorder to endure certain social situations in extreme discomfort, or avoid them altogether. Those with the disorder often experience anticipatory anxiety, fearing a future social situation days or weeks before it is to occur. In many cases, even though the person is conscious that the fear is unwarranted or irrational, he or she is unable to overcome it. In addition to these psychological symptoms there are also select physical ones, including blushing, sweating, pounding heart, shaking, muscle tension, upset stomach and diarrhea.

Recent American medical reports have found social anxiety disorder to be the most common anxiety disorder and third most common mental disorders in the country, affecting an estimated 19 million Americans. Current medical opinion holds that the disorder usually appears between the ages of 15 – 25, and is more common in women than in men. A 2008 study conducted by researchers from Nayang Technological University was consistent with these findings. Researchers also found growing evidence that in Asian countries like Singapore, which emphasize obedience, self-control, emotions restraint, and academic achievement, people are more likely to feel the types of social-evaluative fears that so frequently paralyze those with social anxiety disorder.

If you have experienced any of the tell-tale symptoms of the disorder, or have seen them in someone you love, please do not hesitate to get call me. It is possible to regain control of your life. Using a combination of medication, therapy and other treatments, you can have your old life back. Help is a phone call away.