Suffering from social anxiety disorder can wreak havoc with an individual's life and relationships. Social anxiety is reluctance to be in large gatherings for fear of having a panic attack in front of others. Persons with this debilitating disorder will do anything to avoid social situations. They fear being humiliated, embarrassed and rejected.
Social anxiety disorder can strike anyone of any age or gender. Sometimes a bad experience is the impetus for bringing on the anxiety. Other times, the disorder will manifest with no apparent reason, but stress is an underlying presence.
It is hard for people with social anxiety to experience normal, healthy relationships in any facet of their lives. There are three categories of relationships that can be affected for the person with social anxiety.
* Marital and family relationships
* Work relationships
Marital and family relationships
A person who never wants to interact socially will deprive a spouse and children of opportunities to enjoy life experiences that include mingling with crowds. Sometimes the family is not even aware of the disorder, for some people are very clever at hiding their social disability with excuses and avoidance, for it is often a source of embarrassment.
An individual might instigate an argument, sometimes subconsciously, to be in a position to refuse to attend an event that is important to their partner. The marriages of persons with social anxiety disorder are sometimes strained, unless the partner in the relationship is aware and educated about the mental condition and effective ways to combat it.
A parent with the disorder could avoid going to children's activities to witness their accomplishments and achievements. This could affect the parent/child relationship in a negative way.
Often persons with social anxiety disorder are misunderstood, and viewed as shy, snobby or eccentric. Their difficulty cultivating friendships can create loneliness.
Even when the condition comes about after a friendship has been established, the secretive behavior of a person with this condition and the reluctance to socialize could estrange or sever the friendship. Most people thrive on social interaction and would interpret constant refusals to socialize as a sign of rejection.
Persons with social anxiety are often passed over for promotions and special recognition. They either have poor attendance records, switch jobs often to their own detriment, or behave in an introverted way that eliminates their chances to be viewed a leadership material.
Coworkers will soon tire of negative response to invitations to lunch, coffee breaks or work-related social events, and the person with social anxiety will be "out of the loop."
Left untreated, social anxiety disorder could become incapacitating to the extent of advancing into agoraphobia, leaving the individual a prisoner in his/her own home.
If you, or someone you know, is suffering from social anxiety disorder, there are effective treatments to overcome this condition.
If symptoms are mild, a few sessions with a behavior modification therapist will do the trick in most cases. A healthy lifestyle with adequate sleep, good nutrition and daily exercise will often mitigate the symptoms enough for the individual to cope and function.
If symptoms are severe, including full-blown panic attacks, then it would behoove the sufferer to consult a doctor. Your doctor will refer you to a specialist who will provide a combination of medication and therapy to help you overcome your social anxiety.