Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety disorder

Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety Disorder is characterised by an intense anxiety related to social situations where a person could be exposed to other people’s judgement or to unfamiliar people.

Typically, the person is frightened by the idea of potentially exhibiting anxiety symptoms or acting in a shameful and embarrassing way; furthermore the person is aware that those worries are excessive.

Being exposed to such a social situation triggers an intense anxiety (even a preparatory anxiety) and sometimes panic attacks; avoidance is an obvious consequence.

Feared social situations

Here there are some of the most typical social situations triggering anxiety in Social Anxiety Disorder:

  • speaking in public;
  • eating or drinking in public;
  • writing in public;
  • beginning or maintaining a conversation;
  • speaking with a person of authority;
  • participating to group activities;
  • going to parties;
  • undertake an exam;
  • using public toilets.

Usually this kind of anxiety is accompanied by inflexible beliefs about one’s own personal inadequacy and about other people as disapproving, rejecting, superior or mocking.

The paradox of Social Anxiety Disorder is indeed that the person is driven by a deep desire of making a good impression to people but at the same time he/she has the fear of not being able to make it; as a consequence, each social situation can be potentially threatening for one’s own social status.

Anxiety is then experienced and becomes itself a source of danger, as it can threaten the performance and it can be recognised by other people. At this point, the person is totally concentrated on his own reactions and safety behaviours can be adopted (trying to control the body movements, do not look people in the eyes, keeping one’s own arms folded so that other people will not notice the sweating, …)

Being exposed to social situations with such dynamics can be a real nightmare.

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