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Research of Social Anxiety Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Effects and Treatments

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Causes of SAD
  3. The Impacts of SAD on People
  4. Treatments for SAD
  5. Conclusion


“We are disturbed not by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens”(Epictetus). It is normal for anyone suffering with anxiety alongside other mental health problems such as depression or even suicidal feelings. For instance, you may feel nervous when confront a difficult situation in life, before taking an examination or before making a significant decision. However, what happen if people who have worry and fear are continuous and overwhelming, and can be incapacitated especially about every social affairs. It may be the indication of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), also called Social Phobia, one of three typical types of mental health problem with complicated patterns. In addition, Social anxiety disorder happens when we feel exceedingly worried about being embarrassed and judged by others. According to a survey conducted by ADAA, Social anxiety disorder made a tremendous impact on nearly 15 million American adults and millons of people all over the world suffered from this psychological disorder. Therefore, scientists and psychologists have made great efforts to discover the effective treatments to help patients overcome this serious illness. This paper is for the purpose of raising awareness about SAD, as well as discussing its symptoms, causes, effects and treatments.

The symptoms of SAD As reported by Richards, those who undergo social anxiety disorder get into a powerful panic of being negatively judged and scrutinized by other people or even fear interacting with strange individuals in a social setting. Critically, most of the people suffering from social phobia realize that they should not be as anxious as they are, but their panic is actually out of control. As a matter of fact, they are afraid of talking, presenting in meetings or in groups, having dialogues with people, while others are concerned about and avoid a variety of social states.

Entering into details, social anxiety disorder is recognized by two main types of symptoms: emotional symptoms and physiological symptoms. As reviewed by Goldberg, all socially anxious people have diverse explanations for nervous feelings in definite situations. But in general, people usually encounter substantial emotional distress in the following social affairs: being introduced to strange people or when confronted with new people, being witnessed or stalked while doing something, being the centre of concentration, having to perform in a formal, public situation, annoying somebody by chance. Along with emotional symptoms, the physiological expressions which are associated with social anxiety disorder may consist of strong apprehension, rapid heartbeat, self-consciousness, dry throat and mouth, extreme sweating, shake, hard swallow, unsettled stomach or other intestinal pain, breathlessness, faintness, convulsion and eye contact issues. Constant, severe fear that does not go away is the most typical symptom.

The Causes of SAD

There are no obvious reasons why social anxiety disorder happens. However, there are some pieces of information that are ascertained to have caused this type of disorder. First of all, genetics may be the first reason leading to this mental problem. Individuals who have a family member suffering with social phobia will be easily influenced or hypnotized than others. Secondly, it can also be related to having an overactive amygdala, one of the structures in the brain controlling the fear reaction.

According to Mayo Clinic Staff (2017), the main cause of SAD seems to be severe, extended, negative experience in early childhood. Victims have to tolerate frequent occurrences of horrendous physical or sexual abuse in childhood but primarily early mid-childhood, a momentous course of development. Additionally, children who experience practical jokes, torment, denunciation, mockery or disgrace may be more susceptible to social phobia. A lot of discouraging events in life, such as family dispute, fail or trauma are also accompanied with social anxiety disorder. In some people, beauty treatment or shudder because of Parkinson’s complaint can multiply the feelings of embarrassment and may trigger social anxiety disorder attack.

As Jefferson (2001) reported, behavioural inhibition can be a principal predisposition to increasing the risk of having social anxiety as well as other mental problems. Many different features impact on individuals during the period of growth and are probable to interrelate in complicated ways to elevate or avoid the beginning of social anxiety disorder.

In general, the derivations of social phobia are assorted and complicated. Childhood maltreatment and harsh conditions are probably hazard elements for this serious disorder. Wang et al. (2016) also asserted that there is an involvement among parenting styles, family functioning and social phobia. And assured genetic trains can lead to socially anxious condition. However, it is vital not to dwell too powerfully on the fundamental causes of social anxiety disorder. Moderately, the emphasis should be for the purpose of the awkward thoughtful patterns which are preserving it.

The Impacts of SAD on People

Jefferson (2001) noted the massive influence of social anxiety disorder on standard of living. For a individual with social anxiety disorder, daily social affairs bring about so much depression, anxiety and suicidal tendency that separation seems like a liberation. Social anxiety disorder prevents victims from living their own lives. They will avoid the circumstances which are considered “usual” by other people. They even face a difficult moment being aware of how other people can manage them without remarkable efforts.

SAD patiens show a variety of educational, professional and social incapacity. This is a confusion of misplaced chances because individuals must spend most of their time on fighting against their disease. For instance, learners having social anxiety disorder tend to drop out of school in the early stages due to their nervousness of poorly performing in their study more than their colleagues who do not suffer from this illness. Besides, suffers of social phobia also have disturbed and unreliable employment history podcast such that they are likely to transfer from one office to another. Because they are worried about being unsuccessful or not completing work when they carry out an assignment which does not bring forth the good results as they expect. In some other situations, the fear of fulfilling leading an obligation usually makes them be away from work until they feel identically gratified that they will not be acquainted with the similar duty.

According to Stein & Walker (n.d.), the absence of confidence and motivation affected by social anxiety disorder makes victims become lonely and separate as they are not able to make friends or interact with people. For example, children who have to put up with the illness will have few friends and count upon them for all social situations. But families change place, children move to a new school, and it may be needed for them to start new relationships. This is actually hard for socially anxious children to adapt to a different living condition and they may be more fearful. In other words, the frightened feeling of failing to be admitted in the new location will strengthen social anxiety disorder.

There is an alarm fact that most victims experiencing SAD try to commit suicide. The cause behind foolish actions is because of the fear and desperate feelings when living in the periods of privacy too persistent. After a shameful state among people, those who having social phobia feel extremely hopeless about themselves such that they can find no reasonable solution to their problem except trying to kill themselves.

With these serious consequences above, it cannot be negated that social anxiety disorder brings about a large number of difficulties, which force victims to put more effort into quite recovered process.

Treatments for SAD

In any forms of mental health problems, the treatments can give sufferers as well as SAD people a great chance of getting back to their normal lives. According to SANE Australia, treatments include all the diverse ways in which people having mental illness can reduce the impacts of disease and raise the ability of recovery. And also, there are many treatments for people suffering from social phobia such as psychological therapy, medication and most importanly the supports from others.

First of all, the method considered to be an effective cure for social anxiety disorder is psychotherapy or cognitive-behavior therapy. As Stein & Gorman (2001) mentioned that Cognitive-behavior treatment helps patients create and maintain a positive attitude on contact among people as well as modify their opinions about themselves. This kind of therapy is also suggested to consult psychologists and advisors to help patients deal with their problems. With the help of cognitive-behavior therapy, people suffering from this disorder may not be fearful and anxious in interacting with other people.

Additionally, social anxiety disorder is treated by medications. However, this method does not have a prolonged effect to enhance patients’ recovery without the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Medications bring patients many positive signals, but not all, sufferers from social anxiety disorder because sometimes this treatment may not “suitable” for human brain structure and their functions. Nevertheless, patients can use some types of medications to impermanently diminish the warning signs of the illness such as headache, shake, breathing difficulty.

Last but not at least, the appropriate supports from family and friend play an important role in completing recovery process in patients having social phobia. As Albano mentioned family members and especially parents need to get an accurate and cryptical understanding of this mental issue as well as help patients develop friendships. Friendships are the fundamental factors to preserve the social interaction and social support, which are extremely necessary for sufferers not to stand the isolated feelings.


This research aims to prove social anxiety disorder is not just introversion or shyness. People with this serious illness not only lose the ability to speak in public and interact with people but also became victims from dishonest behaviors of human such as bullying, rape joke or discrimination, it is most urgent that we operate to protect them from emotional and physical mistreatment. Undoubtedly, social phobia is exceedingly subjective but the innovations in the treatment of this mental health problem have brought hope and faith in a bright future.

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