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Social anxiety: the most misunderstood psychological problem

Social Anxiety is hardly a common term or word that you get to hear everyday.

But most people, at different times in their lives, have been plagued by shyness.

Remember the feeling of being introduced to a crowd of total strangers for the very first time? Or do you recall a childhood friend who was considered the laughing-stock in grade school? Any parent will tell you that it’s also normal for the little sister to be teased by older siblings or to be criticized by her playmates. Anyone who has taken center stage during an oral debate in school would also claim to have experienced a sudden breakout of sweat and uncontrolled shivering. Being the center of attention is always a desirable thing. For shy people, it can cause terrible “butterflies” and fainting spells.

Shy people tend to exhibit timidity, fear, and, in some occasions, even phobia. More than just being overly self-conscious or averse to meeting people, people with Social Anxiety think and feel that everyone seems to be watching their every move. They can’t relax and are constantly afraid that people are “judging” them in some way. Even their mobility is hampered by their excessive fear of being in public. Walking inside a mall or strolling in a park is a constant struggle.

People who have this type of anxiety disorder tend to isolate themselves, even if they are around familiar people. It is a crippling condition called Social Phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety is overwhelming fear of social situations where you may be “judged” negatively, and because of this, you become so self-conscious and afraid to be humiliated in front of others. Aside from fear and anxiety, people with phobias do everything they can to avoid their phobic stimulus.

Medical health professionals use the following signs in people to determine the presence of a social phobia:

• Unreasonable fear triggered by the presence especially “authoritative” figures;
• Fear of exposure to a crowd or a feared situation; and
• Intense anxiety from a situation that already interferes with a person’s normal routine or causes so much distress.

Ways to cope with Social Anxiety Disorder

Separating the real risks and dangers is one way. Taking control of the things you can change and accepting those which you cannot. Of course, with the help of family and friends, a person with social anxiety disorder can slowly confront fears. For serious cases, a professional therapist or doctor may be required.

Here are other ways to control anxiety: applying relaxation techniques, doing yoga, meditation, and exercise. Learning to be assertive is also one technique to overcome anxiety disorder. You should also focus on your good qualities and make an effort to make eye contact whenever you meet and greet people.

Anxiety is part of daily human experience. With proper help, and if necessary, appropriate medication, people can overcome fears and disallow phobias to rule over them. Motivating yourself and joining a support group is a tremendous help cope with the disorder. It might take some time, but if you take action now, the better for you and those people around you. Living life without fear will help you, your family, and friends to have more meaningful relationships and enjoy life to the fullest.

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