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Social Anxiety Disorder

Understanding Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder is a mental health condition characterized by an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. It is not the same as being shy. People with social anxiety disorder experience fear, anxiety, and avoidance behaviors that can interfere with their daily routines, work, school, or other activities.

Approximately 7% of Americans suffer from social anxiety disorder. This fear can impact various aspects of life, including work, school, and relationships. It can also increase the risk of developing major depressive disorder and alcohol use disorders.

However, social anxiety disorder can be treated, and individuals can overcome their symptoms. Treatment can help individuals reach their full potential and improve their quality of life.

Symptoms of social anxiety disorder include:

Fear of situations in which you may be judged

Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself

Anxiety in anticipation of a feared activity or event

Physical symptoms such as blushing, sweating, upset stomach, dizziness, trembling, and having a shaky voice in social situations

People with social anxiety disorder often expect the worst possible consequences from negative experiences in social situations and may avoid doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment.


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Treatment options for social anxiety disorder include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This therapy involves discussing thoughts and behaviors with a psychologist or counselor to change how individuals perceive and react to social situations, helping them cope better with their anxiety.

Medications: Some antidepressants can alleviate anxiety symptoms, even in non-depressed individuals. A healthcare provider can determine the best medication for each person’s situation.

Some individuals may undergo CBT and take medications simultaneously.

For individuals considering pregnancy, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before attempting to conceive. Some anxiety medications may pose risks to babies, necessitating a switch in medication before pregnancy.

Living with social anxiety disorder often involves managing anxiety throughout life, with fluctuations in severity during times of stress. However, many individuals find effective treatments or coping mechanisms to manage their anxiety effectively.