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January 2011



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Social anxiety disorder or social anxiety is an excessive emotional discomfort, anxiety, fear or worry about social situations. The individual is exceptionally worried about social situations, being evaluated or scrutinized by other people – there is a heightened fear of interactions with others. Social anxiety disorder is sometimes referred to as social phobia. A phobia is an irrational fear of certain situations, objects or environments.

A person with social anxiety disorder typically is excessively fearful of embarrassment in social situations – this fear can sometimes have a debilitating effect on personal and professional relationships.

An individual with social anxiety disorder may have signs and symptoms of blushing, trembling, accelerated heartbeat, muscle tension, nausea, sweating, abdominal discomfort and lightheadedness.

Social anxiety often occurs early in childhood as a normal part of social development and may go unnoticed until the person is older. The triggers and frequency of social anxiety vary considerably, depending on the individual.

Most of us may feel nervous in certain social situations, such as giving a presentation, going out on a date, or taking part in a competition (such as a quiz). This is normal and in most cases is not social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder is when everyday social interactions cause excessive fear, self-consciousness and embarrassment. Such trivial tasks as filling a form with people around, or eating in public places or with friends may become considerable ordeals for somebody with social anxiety disorder.

According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary:

    Social phobia is “a persistent pattern of significant fear of a social or performance situation, manifesting in anxiety or panic on exposure to the situation or in anticipation of it, which the person realizes is unreasonable or excessive and interferes significantly with the person’s functioning; 2. a DSM diagnosis that is established when specified criteria are met.” (DSM = Abbreviation for the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.)

What are the signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder?

A symptom is something the patient feels and reports, while a sign is something other people, such as the doctor detect. For example, pain may be a symptom while a rash may be a sign.

Social anxiety disorder is a chronic mental health condition in which the sufferer has an irrational fear or anxiety of situations or activities, believing he/she will be observed and judged by others. There is considerable fear of humiliation or embarrassment. There may be physical, emotional and behavioral signs and symptoms.

Behavioral and emotional signs and symptoms:

  • Anxiety reaches such a point that daily tasks, including school life, work and other activities become affected
  • Avoiding situations where the sufferer feels he/she may be the center of attention
  • Children with possible social anxiety disorder tend to be worried about being embarrassed in front of peers, but not generally in front of adults
  • Considerable fear of being in situations with strangers (people the sufferer does not know)
  • Dread over how they will be presented to others
  • Excessive fear of being teased or criticized
  • Excessive fear that other people may notice that the sufferer looks anxious
  • Excessive worry about being anxious, which makes the anxiety worse
  • Excessive worry about embarrassment and humiliation
  • Fear of meeting people in authority
  • Having severe anxiety or panic attacks when in the feared situation
  • Refraining from doing certain things or talking to people because of a fear of humiliation or embarrassment
  • The individual worries excessively about being in situations where he/she may be judged
  • When in a situation that causes anxiety the sufferer’s mind may go blank

Physical signs and symptoms:

  • A feeling that the heart is either pounding too hard or fluttering (palpitations)
  • Abdominal pain and/or stomach upset
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Blushing
  • Children with social phobia may weep, have tantrums, cling to parents, or shut themselves out
  • Clammy hands
  • Cold hands
  • Confusion
  • Crying
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty talking; this may include a shaky voice
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry throat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Shaking
  • Trembling
  • Walk disturbance – the individual is so worried about how they walk that they lose balance when passing a group of people

Read More … http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/176891.php

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