It is not at all unusual for people to be shy or nervous when they are around other people. When these feelings completely overwhelm them, they may have a condition known as social anxiety disorder, or SAD. People who suffer from SAD experience an intense anxiety reaction at the mere thought of a social interaction. This article will share with you everything you need to know about this disorder.
There are a variety of physical symptoms that sufferers experience. They include excessive sweating, dizziness, and an accelerated heartbeat. They may also experience heart palpitations, excessive blushing, and stammering. It is not uncommon for those with social anxiety disorder to undergo panic attacks. These attacks generally happen when the person experiences an intense feeling of fear or discomfort.
If this condition is not properly treated, it can lead to a number of problems. People with the disease have a high risk of substance abuse. They turn to alcohol and drugs to try to reduce their anxiety and depression. It is estimated that 20 percent of people with this disorder abuse alcohol.
Social anxiety disorder can also lead to a variety of other psychiatric disorders. Some of the most commonly diagnosed disorders are panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. In addition to this, patients with the condition are at an extremely high risk of attempting suicide. Some of the medications available to treat the condition can also serve to raise this risk.
People with social anxiety disorder can be treated using psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is usually the form of psychotherapy used. The cognitive aspect of the treatment focuses on the patient dealing with the thinking patterns that prevent overcoming their fears. The behavioral aspect deals with changing the patient’s reactions to situations that normally invoke feelings of anxiety. The patient is gradually exposed to the things that they fear in a sensitive manner.
A class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors is generally the preferred medication for treating social anxiety disorder. Benzodiazepines can also be prescribed sometimes. These drugs are more potent, and are only used to provide short-term relief for severe anxiety.
Social anxiety disorder can be a debilitating condition. The intense anxiety makes it nearly impossible for patients to interact socially. The good news is that help is readily available for sufferers in the form of medication and therapy.