by The Welthi Bureau | 08th Feb, 2019
Shyness, that many ascribe to a lack of self-confidence, has escalated to being treated as a psychiatric disorder since it gained official recognition as one. Since then, individuals who were declared to be “allergic to people”, were given access to therapy that could relieve the symptoms that at times proved debilitating.
Shyness has also been termed ‘Social Anxiety Disorder’. But how do you recognize if you are one of the sufferers of this ‘social phobia’? If you become panic-stricken at the mere thought of meeting people or being in the spotlight, then you need to seek counseling, or the condition can become chronic. In countries like the USA, Shyness or Social Anxiety Disorder has been recorded as the third most common ‘mental disorder’, after depression and alcoholism. The biggest problem is that people who suffer from this disorder are too afraid to seek professional help.
Like any personality trait, shyness occurs across a spectrum. It goes from merely being uncomfortable at parties to being unable to leave the house for fear of being seen and judged by others. Do remember that social anxiety becomes a problem when it seriously interferes with your ability to live a normal life. If you are concerned that you fall into the category of people suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder,
ask yourself these three questions:
• Do I avoid doing certain things or speaking to people because the fear of embarrassment keeps me from doing so?
• Do I avoid activities that put me at the center of attention?
• Are being embarrassed or looking stupid amongst my worst fears?
Experts say that if you answer yes to at least two out of the three questions, you may suffer from Social Phobia. If these fears cause you to hide at home and avoid contact with anyone but your closest friends, you may want to consider therapy, so that you are better able to function in a social and professional environment, without putting yourself through undue stress and mental pressure.
If Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia is left untreated, it can potentially lead to serious problems, so it is important to diagnose and treat this condition before it escalates. Experts have found that untreated sufferers of social phobia are clinically depressed, and might also require treatment for substance abuse at a future date. Social Phobia, it has been found, also contributes to other disorders.
The key is to approach this problem like one would approach any physical one – with the attitude that early diagnosis can bring an early cure.
Medication is only one approach. Psychotherapy can also be the most effective. Experts recommend Group Therapy sessions designed to replace negative thought patterns with positive ones. Patients also benefit from Behavioural Therapy sessions, where they are subjected to anxiety-producing situations in order to defuse their fears.
However, before you jump to any conclusions, meet a medical professional and talk about your anxieties. This is a battle best fought with others by your side.
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