Social anxiety disorder is a kind of anxiety people feel when they have excessive self-consciousness in the arena of everyday life.
Those who have social anxiety disorder have serious problems carrying out simple tasks in a social setting because they have an over whelming and intense feeling that people are watching their every move, scrutinizing everything they do.
History of Social Anxiety Disorder
There has been literary descriptions depicting signs of social anxiety disorder since four hundred years BC but it was not called social anxiety disorder until the early 1900s. When it was first named there was a lot of research carried out to fully understand the condition, over time this faded to the point that it was largely ignored in the mid 1980s, by 1989 there was a revival and the literacy surrounding the condition was revised.
Affects on those who Suffer
Those who do suffer will likely have physical symptoms that others may notice such as blushing, excessive sweating, stammering, and feelings of sickness, trembling among others.
Any one diagnosed with social anxiety disorder can suffer greatly in their day-to-day life as the condition can cause great distress and change their daily life for as long as they cannot control the condition.
In extreme cases people have been known to become reclusive, as they cannot face the social settings being in the outside world brings. In these cases the sufferer will only manage to be around those that they and trust and know very well such as family members and very close friends.
Following other anxiety disorders and depression, social anxiety disorder uses anti-depressant medication, for example, Wellbutrin, to suppress the feelings of anxiety a sufferer has. There has been a lot of talk around these medications because a lot of them can be addictive when used long term.
There are new medications coming on to the market for social anxiety disorder, these medications have been created solely for their non-addictive side affects.
Social anxiety may sound far fetched but it is more rife than we think, there are many aspects of social anxiety disorder in every one of us, this comes in the form of people who are afraid of speaking in public, eating in front of others and being in formal situations like a job interview.
For those who do suffer with social anxiety disorder, life can be very difficult as many people will not be able to understand what they are going through and not be supportive.
If a family member or a close friend is suffering with social anxiety disorder and they are still letting you into their lives then it means that they feel they can trust you implicitly. In this instance you are in a very good position to try and help them in any way possible, this may be just putting them at ease and talking to them about the issues they are feeling.
Image: William James Glackens. Crowd at the Seashore, 1910
Did you like this article? Then you'll really want to sign up for my newsletter. It's delivered several times a week and packed with science news and analysis. Subscribe Here.