The outside world is a dangerous place. It’s hard to find people who can be trusted, people who understand. Stepping out to face people means facing the scary facts of rejection, humiliation & failure. There are just some bothersome thoughts that every person with social anxiety disorder has to face on a daily basis.
Social anxiety disorder is one of the least understood among the various mental disorders. Not even all therapists are equipped to diagnose and treat this disorder. The struggle rages inside and thus, people who have never experienced it themselves will definitively find it difficult to understand and worse to believe that the disorder exists. This sort of thinking only furthers the fear of a person suffering from social anxiety disorder to withdraw from interaction because they can very much sense this in other people. There is a drastic rise in the number of people diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. In the United States, social anxiety disorder is the third amongst the most common psychological illnesses. In different parts of the world, there is a problem of unreported cases of social anxiety disorder due to fear of labels and the confusion of the disorder with either plain shyness or having poor social skills. This is due on part to its early onset which leaves parents to conclude that the anxiety of socializing will disappear soon as years pass by only to later find out that the situation has turned to worse. When this happens, social anxiety disorder will have already gained roots and caused so much internal psychological damage to the person. To properly address the needs of someone suffering from this psychological and mental disorder, it is imperative to examine how they view the world differently from normal people.
Defining Social Anxiety Disorder
The Social Anxiety Institute defines Social Anxiety as the fear of interacting with other people that could cause self-consciousness, being judged, scrutinized or rejected. These feelings cause the person suffering from the disorder to resort to extreme measures like total avoidance of any form of interaction whether through telephone or in person.
Understanding People with Social Anxiety Disorder
What most often leads to confusion regarding Social Anxiety Disorder is how other people perceive persons with this disorder as merely “shy”. But there are far more serious physical manifestations that occur to people living with social anxiety disorder. These reactions include heightened fear, hyperventilation, palpitation, shaking, dry mouth and throat and excessive sweating. These bodily reactions make the suffering even worse.
To do away with the misconceptions that hamper proper treatment, there are some common symptoms that trigger the above-mentioned reactions: fear of meeting new people, fear of being in the crowd, being the center of attention, meeting people in authority and any other social encounters.
What people with this disorder want others to understand is that they do want to be normal, to socialize but they cannot control the manifestations when they occur. It isn’t them being shy, it’s just them being in a torturous state and they are trapped. It’s like they are locked inside screaming for someone to help them break the chain.