Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
Social Anxiety Disorder involves intense fear of social situations including worry about the perceptions of others and concern that anxiety will show to others (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Also known as performance anxiety, Social Anxiety Disorder sometimes occurs when an individual is giving a speech, athletic or artistic performance, or is somehow being observed by other people. It may also involve less intense social situations like asking a classmate a question or ordering food at a restaurant. The primary concern of Social Anxiety Disorder is embarrassment or rejection from others, and so social situations are often avoided to relieve anxiety (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). A common condition, Social Anxiety Disorder occurs in approximately 7% of the population and is more common for younger individuals (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
With the increase in technological advances and changes in communication, Social Anxiety Disorder seems to be becoming more prevalent as people spend increasing amounts of time on their smart phones and tablets with less face-to-face interaction. This creates less opportunity for individuals to practice in-person social skills.
Social Anxiety Disorder is treated via exploration of fears and history of the anxiety. Treatment includes matching symptoms with relaxation strategies within physical, cognitive, behavioral, or emotional categories. Insight and practice are important to the success of overcoming Social Anxiety Disorder as individuals learn to understand the source of their anxiety and work on steps to overcome it. If you need help with social anxiety, call me to schedule your first step to feeling better.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.