Social anxiety disorder is also referred to as social phobia and it is essentially an anxiety disorder in which an individual has an unreasonable and excessive fear of social situations. Self-consciousness and intense nervousness arise from a phobia of being judged, criticized and closely watched by others.
An individual who has social anxiety disorder is terrified that he or she will look bad, make mistakes and be humiliated or embarrassed in front of others. This fear could become worse if the individual lacks experience or social skills in social situations. Social anxiety could build up into a panic attack. Due to the fear, this individual becomes distressed in certain social situations or he or she may totally avoid them.
Additionally, individual who have social anxiety disorder frequently suffer “anticipatory” anxiety, which is a fear of a situation prior to it even happening. In a lot of cases, the individual is aware that it is an unreasonable fear, yet he or she is powerless to overcome it.
No single known cause is there for social anxiety disorder; however, research suggests that environmental, psychological and biological factors play a part in its development.
Individual who have social anxiety disorder could develop their fear while noticing another person being made fun of or from witnessing the behavior of others. In addition, sheltered or overprotected children may not develop good social skills as a component of their normal development.
Social anxiety disorder could result from past humiliating or embarrassing social experiences like being ignored or bullied by peers.
Currently, social anxiety disorder is believed to be linked to irregular functioning of brain circuits, which regulate the ‘fight or flight’ response hub in the brain as well as the emotions. Genetics could also contribute to the disorder.
Currently, the most effective treatment for this disorder is CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy. Medication could also be used to assist in easing social anxiety disorder symptoms to make CBT more effective. Medication could be used alone as well.
Social Anxiety Support in Auckland
Support groups for social anxiety operate with the goal of bringing together individuals with similar problems to have discussions and learn from the experiences of others. Individuals who are thinking about joining a support group should find one that has members who are afflicted with social anxiety disorder as well. These group members are more likely to appreciate the difficulty involved in talking openly.
The aim of support groups is to encourage fun and friendship. The activities may include cafe visits, games, bush walks, movies, dinners and focused meetings in which members can talk about challenges. There are even meetings to which guest speakers are invited to address members. Group members are typically just ordinary individuals who are seeking to connect with others who have similar issues.
The issues group members face could range from social phobia, mild to chronic anxiety, physical limitations, depression and individuals whose anxieties and fears came about as a result of traumatic events like stress, loss of a loved one, discrimination, divorce or illness.