WHAT IS SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER?
Social anxiety disorder, sometimes called social phobia, refers to experiencing excessive distress or anxiety whenever faced with a situation where one is the subject of other people’s attention. Social anxiety disorder is quite common, and can be severely debilitating. While everyone can expect to feel somewhat nervous on occasion, such as before making a speech or entering a room full of strangers, people with social anxiety disorder experience intense and prolonged anxiety in such situations, or even when anticipating them.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER?
People who suffer from social anxiety disorder commonly experience severe anxiety or even panic attacks whenever they find themselves in situations where they may be the center of attention.
Not surprisingly, one of the most common symptoms of social anxiety disorder is actively avoiding such situations. This creates its own problems.
COULD YOU BE SUFFERING FROM SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER?
A trained healthcare professional can best determine whether or not your symptoms constitute Social Anxiety Disorder. Here is an example of the type of question that would be used to make that determination:
“Some people have an unreasonably strong fear of doing things in front of other people (like public speaking, eating in public, or even talking to people). Have you had any of these kinds of fears?”
HOW IS SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER TREATED?
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), either in a one-on-one setting or as part of a group of people with similar symptoms is commonly used to treat social phobia. Training to help build and improve social skills may also be helpful. In addition, antidepressant medications such as SSRIs or MAOIs may also be prescribed to help manage the emotional turmoil of social phobia. To manage the physical symptoms (such as sweating or trembling), healthcare providers may also prescribe medications called beta-blockers. To learn more about these options, visit Know your treatment options.