Friday, February 16, 2007

Where does social anxiety disorder come from?

There are a number of factors that cause social anxiety disorders. Let’s consider them in brief.

Genetics. Researches have proved that there’s a risk of having social anxiety disorder if a first-degree relative also has it. I can be possible either because of parental influence and psychological education, or because of genetics. Thus, if a parent has any kind of social anxiety disorder, then a child is more likely to develop it.

Brain. Patients suffering from social fears and anxieties often have a hypersensitive amygdala, in relation to negative social reaction towards themselves (angry cues and faces, hostility, threat, etc.) Studies have showed that the brain area known as Anterior Cingulate Cortex is responsible for experience of the so called social pain. This are was already considered to be involved in the experience of physical pain. Speaking about social anxiety disorder in neurochemical terms, some scholars believe that it is somehow related to an imbalance of the brain chemical and serotonindopamine neurotransmission. The efficiency of drugs that affect serotonin and dopamine levels also indicates the role of them in the onset and development of the disorder.

Social experience. A previous negative social experience can also lead to social anxiety disorder. Studies have shown that a certain traumatic or humiliating social event is commonly connected with the onset or worsening of the disorder. It may be also be developed due to the longer-term effects of being rejected, bullied, ignored and looked down. Observing or hearing about the socially negative experiences of others or verbal warnings of social problems and dangers may also trigger social anxiety disorder.

Social and cultural causes. They include a society's attitude towards shyness and avoidance, impacting ability to form relationships or access employment or education. Problems in developing social skills may also lead to social anxiety disorder through inability or lack of confidence to successfully interact socially and gain positive attitude from others. Also demographic variables may matter - there are possibly lower rates of social anxiety disorder in Mediterranean countries and higher rates in Scandinavian countries.

Evolutionary factor. Some scholars are apt to suppose that predispositions to social fears and anxieties in human environment have been evolving in course of time. In other words, humanity accommodates itself to the environment where it exists and develops. It is believed that in modern society these socioanxious tendencies have become more evident and resulted in some of the cognitive distortions and irrationalities.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Social anxiety disorder prevalence and functional disability

People suffering from social anxiety disorder seldom seek psychiatric treatment. Therefore, social anxiety disorder was thought to be a relatively rare disorder what led to a gross underestimation of the prevalence of the disease.

But the true prevalence of social anxiety disorder became obvious when community surveys were conducted. According to recent studies, 12-month and lifetime prevalence rates of social anxiety disorder reached 7.9% and 13.3%, respectively. Thus, social anxiety disorder appears to be a remarkably common but largely unrecognized disease.

In addition to being prevalent, social anxiety disorder is associated with substantial functional impairment. Social anxiety disorder is a disease of lost opportunities. Socially anxious people individuals often give up school and work because of their fear of speaking in public and interacting with others. They often don’t date and marry at all.

Still, when present to diagnosis and treatment, people suffering from social anxiety disorder report tremendous dissatisfaction with their lives. They perceive their quality of life to be poor and report extensive illness intrusiveness that result in their functional disability.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Image if social anxiety disorder

Beginning with Mark Twain’s saying that “Man is the only animal that blushes … or needs to” it is important to note that human shyness and self-consciousness can appear to be so pronounced that a person tries to evade any interpersonal contact or endures them with intense discomfort. Such people suffer from social anxiety disorder, a sociopsychological disease that draws more and more attention of the medical community nowadays.

People with social anxiety disorder are typically shy, timid, quiet in groups and feel uncomfortable being in the center of attention. They crave for the company of others but their fears prevent them to live a full-fledged social life. They lack self-esteem. Thus, they avoid speaking in public, expressing opinions or even hanging out with their peers. They find it difficult to deal with people in authority and are unable to speak or perform in public. In other words social anxiety disorder interferes with their functioning in a wide range of social situations.

Social anxiety disorder often occurs in childhood. In course of time social anxiety disorder is frequently complicated by the occurrence of other comorbidities such as alcohol abuse and depression. As a matter of fact, social anxiety disorder is the most common disease among depressed patients. Most people with social anxiety disorder have experienced one or more depressive episodes in life. Also the socially anxious often suffer from sleeping disorders.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Social anxiety disorder: a torturous psychological disease

Any social anxiety has its purpose. Originally its purpose was to protect the life of the primitive man against wild animal and furious neighbors. At present the list of reasons is very long: modern people are afraid to lose in competition, to feel unwelcome, isolated or separated from other people... But the purpose of anxiety is still a protection against dangers which threaten our existence or values. We just can't simply avoid this "normal" anxiety - if only by means of freezing our feelings and imagination and becoming totally apathetic.

Social anxiety is omnipresent. It makes us realize that we belong to existence resisting to nonexistence. Nonexistence comprises all that destroys our life: death, heavy illness, human animosities, sudden changes to the worst. In any case social anxiety is the reaction of a person to hostile factor that threaten or may threaten his safe existence.

After this philosophical introduction we are turning to social anxiety disorder itself.

Social anxiety disorder is the third largest psychological problem in the world today. Millions of people all over the world suffer from this devastating and traumatic disease every day. Unlike any other psychological disease, social anxiety disorder is not well understood by the general public or by medical and mental health care professionals, and people who in fact suffer from social anxiety disorder are misdiagnosed almost 90% of the time as the fact itself is not easily established. One thing that all socially anxious people share is the knowledge that their thoughts and fears are basically irrational. That is to say they know that others are really not critically judging or evaluating them all the time and they understand that people are not trying to embarrass or humiliate them. But despite this rational knowledge they still continue to feel differently. Without treatment social anxiety disorder is a torturous psychological disease and a horrible emotional problem. This blog is dedicated to those who desperately strive to escape and finally get rid of their social fears and anxieties.