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Your teacher asked you to stand in front the whole class to talk. You move to a new town and you have to meet the new neighbors. Your boss asked you to do a presentation in front of a bunch of people at work. If these scenarios cause you to sweat, feel dizzy, and your heart to start beat. You might have social anxiety. It’s normal to feel nervous in some social situations, but in social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, everyday interactions cause significant anxiety, fear, self-consciousness and embarrassment because you fear being judged by others. In social anxiety disorder, fear and anxiety lead to avoidance that can interrupt with your everyday life activities like work and school school. Social anxiety disorder is a mental health condition, but you can learn how to cope with it. psychotherapy and medications can help you gain confidence and improve your ability to interact with others.
According to Mayo Clinic’s website, criteria for social anxiety disorder includes the persistent, intense fear or anxiety about a social situation because of beliefs you may be judged; embarrassed or humiliated. Social anxiety is one of the most common anxiety disorder. As much as 13 percent of the general public suffer from social phobia over the course of their lifetime. People with social anxiety are seen by others as being very quiet, shy, awkward, withdrawn, and sometimes unfriendly. Although people with social anxiety want to be friendly, open, and sociable, it is fear (anxiety) that holds them back.
Some of the symptoms for social anxiety according to the National Institutes of mental health are: excessive anxiety that are out of proportion to the situation. Fear or anxiety that is not resulting from another mental health disorder or a medical condition, medication, or substance abuse. Avoidance of anxiety producing social situation or enduring them with intense fear or anxiety. If the anxiety is not going away and lasting for about 6 months. Finally, anxiety or distress that interferes with everyday living. There are many factors to have social anxiety. According to the abnormal psychology book.
First, Neurological factors: Brain system and Neural communication:” researchers have shown repeatedly that amygdalae is strongly activated when animals including humans are afraid.” The amygdalae of people with social anxiety are more active when seeing negative facial expressions than when they see happy faces.
Neurotransmitters may function abnormally in people who have social anxiety disorder. Researchers have found patients with social anxiety show less activation in brain areas that rely on dopamine. serotonin imbalance may contribute to this condition too.
Psychological Factors: Cognitive biases and distortions: People with social anxiety have exaggerated or irrational thoughts. These thinking patterns often are said to reinforce negative thoughts or emotions.
Classical and operant conditioning: a social situation become paired with negative social experience. The avoidance of anxiety-provoking stimuli resulted in the removal of unpleasant emotions. Thus, avoidance becomes a reward and reinforces the behavior of avoidance.
Social factors: extreme overprotection by parents leads to social anxiety in childhood and carry on into adolescence and adulthood.
Сulture: can influence the nature of the social anxiety. For example, in Korean social fears involves the possibility of offending others through body order. In western countries social anxiety is involved around being humiliated by their own actions. (Abnormal psychology book) According to Mayo Clinic, other factors are; Family history. You’re more likely to develop social anxiety disorder if your biological parents or siblings have the condition.
Negative experience: children who experience teasing, bullying, rejection, ridicule or humiliation may be more prone to social anxiety disorder. In addition, other negative events in life, such as family conflict, trauma or abuse, may be associated with social anxiety disorder. Having an appearance or condition that draws attention. For example, facial disfigurement, stuttering or tremors due to Parkinson’s disease can increase feelings of self-consciousness and may trigger social anxiety disorder in some people.
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