Wednesday 20 December 2017

Adeola Olayemi: Social Anxiety Disorder

Adeola Olayemi: Social Anxiety Disorder

“Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobias is an anxiety disorder characterized by a significant amount of fear in one or more social situation, causing consideration distress and impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life” Wikipedia

Most of these fears are triggered by perception from the mind, criticism, or actual scrutiny from others. Social anxiety disorder often show up itself when giving a speech or interviewing for a new job. It is an occasional shyness alongside the attitude of not wanting to embarrass yourself.

Causes of Social Anxiety

Social phobia is quite common,  a lot of people struggle with fear daily less regarded of what they do,  and how they do it. Some people experience anxiety in most precious all social situations while others anxiety is connected to specific social situations. Majorly in a place they are new at, such as talking to strangers, mingling at parties.

There are few causes of social anxiety based on the sufferer.


Temperament goes a long way in human. Parents who are shy, un-intelligent, and scared of social gathering is bound to have children who would suffer from social anxiety. Studies shows that growing with an overprotective parents has been associated with social anxiety disorder.

Social experience

A previous negative experience triggers SAD. For example, a young man who is a public speaker was given a negative response/reactions after his speech. He is likely not able to return to his public speaking especially when he is yet to overcome fear and anxiety.


It is known in Africa homes that women are not supposed to be seen doing some things, a place where ladies ought to sit around the corner, such child would not be able to outgrow the phobia created by culture.

Examples of social anxiety triggers:

·         Meeting new people

·         Public speaking

·         Taking exams

·         Being asked questions in a meeting

·         Being the center of attention

·         Talking with “important” people on authority figures

·         Meeting a “big” client for the first time

How do you know you have SAD?

You might have felt anxious in public once or twice, that doesn’t mean you have social phobias. Here are signs and symptoms:

Emotional signs

Self consciousness: If you have social phobias, you pay a high self attention after an activity is done. Example; you had a presentation done, and made a mistake about the spelling of a word while writing on a board, a self conscious person would be worried everyone took notice of his/her mistake and then feels negative about the presentation.

Persistence of fear: Each activity the person is involved in, they are afraid of people’s review about it. Thus, interactions with strangers would seem difficult even if it is needed and important.

It is mostly seen in people who avoid public presentation or verbal presentation by all means , they don’t want to be noticed. They are scared of making mistakes while talking. According to Psychologist BF Skimer, phobias are controlled by escape and avoidance behavior.

Physiological aspects

These includes tears, difficulty in breathing, shaking, palpitations, walk disturbance.

Behavioral signs

  • Staying quiet or escaping from the public before a presentation
  • Use of alcohol or drug before social situations
  • Negative thoughts: social anxiety sufferers have negative thoughts, they take note of all their flaws, think other people noticed it. They also remember more negative comments than the good one.

Ways out of SAD

  • Challenge negative thoughts, avoid negative thoughts. Instead say to yourself “my presentation would be mind blowing”, “people would learn from my speech”.
  • Avoid unhealthy thoughts: Stop thinking about what others think about you. The truth, you don’t know what they think of you,  a lot of time you assume you know what other are thinking, which is not true.
  • Taking things personal: you feel people are talking about you because you must gave a public speech.
  • Focus on others: while standing on that podium giving a speech, they are people there who needs to hear what to say, and because your words is at the point of their need. So pay attention to your listener, it makes you feel they are listening to you rather than paying close attention to your voice.
  • Learn to control your breath:  avoid talking fast, so you don’t stammer be in control of your breathe.
  • Face your fear: do not avoid social gathering, they now avoid presentations the more it prevents you from becoming comfortable in social situations. Avoidance might prevent you from scrutiny or negative criticism-which is a short term result, it would create more problem when you can escape in future.
  • Get along with people: meet people, take a social skills class and volunteer to do something you enjoy doing. Work on your communication skills.
  • Adopt an anti-anxiety habit
  • Avoid caffeine or nicotine
  • Get active: do something physical and enjoy doing them. Dance to your favorite music, involve yourself in discussions at work. Avoid taking alcohol before a social situation or better drink in moderation.
  • Quit smoking and drugs
  • Get enough sleep daily.

Further help if self-help fails

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: social skills training is a way to become better at conversation with people.
  • Medication: can be sometimes used to relieve the symptoms of social activities. There are three major types of medications used.
  • Beta blockers: they relieve performance anxiety.
  • Antidepressants: helpful when social anxiety disorder is severe.
  • Benzidiapenosine: they are fast anti-anxiety medications, they are sedative and addictive, so they are advised to be used when other medicine have not worked. 

About the Writer:
Olayemi Adeola is a practising nurse, she loves to write about teenage issues, and health issues. She sees to helping others achieve an health living. She is one of those who believes sleeping is an hobby.

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