Recognizing Social Anxiety As a Mental Illness

social anxiety mental illness

Social anxiety or social phobia, as it is more commonly known, is an anxiety disorder that involves overwhelming fears of social situations. In this case, when a person faces a group of people, these fears take over and prevent them from being able to participate in the activity in question. People who suffer from this mental illness usually feel anxious and tense before going to a social event. They also become uncomfortable when left alone in a room or during a public speech by themselves. This often leads to a host of other symptoms such as blushing, dry mouth, trembling, sweating, and nausea.

This disorder can be brought on by many different factors. These factors may include childhood traumas or negative experiences. They may also be caused by the sufferer’s genetic makeup. It has been found that identical twins have been known to share similar levels of anxiety. Someone else’s genetic makeup could mean that they also share this anxiety disorder. There are also numerous environmental factors that may play a role in causing social anxiety.

An Overview

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When someone mentions that they suffer from social anxiety, it is very common for them to then seek help. The first step to treating the disorder is to learn what causes it. A medical professional will perform a thorough physical exam to determine if there are any physical causes for the anxiety. During this exam, a doctor may want to take a urine test or a blood test. These tests will help the doctor to rule out physical causes for the disorder, such as a cyst or prostate problem. If these tests show that there are no physical causes for the anxiety, then there are several treatment options available for social anxiety.

Medication for the disorder is often prescribed for those who suffer from severe anxiety. These medications can include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and anticonvulsants. Many times, these medications are used as a form of short term therapy. They are sometimes also used to help those with a more advanced stage of the disorder. There are many mixed reviews on the effectiveness of medication for those who suffer from social phobia.

Facts About Social Anxiety

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Some social anxiety sufferers choose to work with a mental health professional in treating their disorder. Many times, social anxiety disorders are a symptom of another mental illness, and treating that illness may lead to a decrease in symptoms for the social anxiety sufferer. In fact, many mental health professionals recommend that the disorder be treated in addition to any other type of mental illness that the person may have. This is because treating the disorder with other mental illnesses can oftentimes make the disorder easier to deal with, as the other illness will mask the symptoms of the disorder.

If a social anxiety sufferer were to try to treat their disorder on their own, it is possible that they could find that their symptoms get worse. This is because the triggers for social anxiety can vary from one person to another. It may be an upcoming social event or a person having a conversation with someone they do not know. Therefore, it is often difficult for the sufferer to predict when they will have an attack, and therefore may have little warning to them before the attack occurs. This can make the symptoms much worse, and may prevent the individual from living a normal life.

Those who have been diagnosed with social anxiety need to realize that there are things that they can do to get better. Many people who have the disorder have had bad experiences with mainstream methods of treatment, such as antidepressant medications. The medications can cause unpleasant side effects and the treatments can become obsolete after a few months. For this reason, many individuals turn to social anxiety self-help programs to help them treat their disorder. These programs are based on old classic techniques that work now, but they are not as common as they once were.

Bottom Line

A mental health professional can offer a lot of information on social anxiety. If a person is living with social anxiety, there are a variety of symptoms that they may experience. Someone experiencing the symptoms of social anxiety will often avoid all social situations, and lead a solitary life. There are other symptoms associated with this mental disorder, so the earlier a disorder diagnosis is made, the easier it will be to treat. When it comes to getting the help you need, be sure to check with your primary care doctor first, and then make an appointment with a psychiatrist or psychologist to discuss your symptoms and the treatments that may be available to you.

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