Social Anxiety Disorder- Symptoms and Causes
While some people are extremely social in their behavior, others might be a little reserved and shy when they have to be in a social setting. All people react differently in different circumstances. However, the society that we live in often views ‘social’ or ‘extroverted’ people with positive eyes, most often disregarding the other section.
This article will discuss Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), its causes, and its symptoms to create awareness among people that social phobia is not mere shyness.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) or Social Phobia is an anxiety disorder that causes extreme fear among people to be in situations where they might be judged or evaluated. For example, job interviews, meeting new people, asking questions in class, going on a date, giving a presentation at work, etc. Most often, people suffering from social phobia do not have control over their social fears.
Social Anxiety Disorder is usually confused with shyness and reserved comportment. Nevertheless, shyness is momentary and does not impact anyone’s life negatively. However, in the case of social phobia, people face difficulties forming/maintaining relationships with people apart from their families. It creates long-term impacts on their lives. A person suffering from social anxiety might face troubles even while doing their day-to-day tasks.
Social Anxiety Disorder – Symptoms
For all mental illnesses, symptoms can differ from person to person. Similarly, the symptoms of SAD also vary among the patients depending upon several factors. While some people might fear specific situations like talking to strangers or giving presentations, others might have more prominent symptoms. Even though the signs differ, some common symptoms of social phobia are:
- Trembling or shaking
- Stammering or stuttering
- Rapid heart rate
- Fear of being judged by people
- Overanalyzing and overthinking about a social event
- Worrying that you will embarrass yourself
- Worrying that people will notice that you are nervous and scared
- Feeling anxiety
- Avoiding social gatherings
- Suicidal attempts or suicidal thoughts
We all feel anxious once in a while. It can probably be because of that office presentation that we ruined or the test we flunked. However, social anxiety disorder is much more than feeling anxious sometimes. It is a constant fear that can impact the life of any individual. People with social anxiety avoid situations like:
- Talking to strangers
- Going on dates
- Eating in public
- Making eye contacts
- Going to work or school
- Maintaining conversations
- Asking a question at school
- Giving presentations at work
What might be the causes of Social Anxiety Disorder?
The causes that lead to Social Anxiety Disorder are still unknown. However, studies prove that genetics and the environment we live in are the causes of SAD.
Genetic Causes: Often, people who have a parent suffering from social phobia are at a higher risk of having a social phobia. Genes are one of the major causes of SAD among people. However, it is not certain to what extent genes play a role as it is also believed that social phobia is an outcome of learned behavior during childhood. For example, a child with a parent suffering from SAD might develop the same habits.
Environment: The environment that a person lives in can also be the cause of Social Anxiety Disorder. For example, some people develop anxiety about social situations after going through a traumatic social event, bullying, or teasing. Furthermore, studies suggest that parental rejection at an early age and overprotective behavior can also cause social phobia among children. The overprotective nature of parents restricts children from exploring new opportunities, which can lead to insecurity and lower self-esteem at a young age, thus failing to participate in social situations.
Physical Abnormalities: Amygdala is a structure in our brain that helps us regulate our fears and moods. Some people have an overprotective amygdala, which may as well be the reason for some anxiety disorders.
Living with social phobia can be debilitating. It furthermore has the capability of leading to more adverse mental conditions. However, a little support, care, and love from close ones can help make the journey easier.
If the social phobia is obstructing your regular life, then you are not alone. Seek professional help immediately!