Social anxiety disorder is currently affecting approximately 15 million American. Because of its resemblance to the general public nervousness type, many people feel like a self test to help them make sure whether their condition is an anxiety disorder or simply nervousness.
If you are one of these people, you may like to go through the following test and share your results with an anxiety specialist.
1. Check your symptoms:
- Are you constantly and extremely fearful of being judged by others?
- Do you often have the worry that you will be laughed at with whatever you are doing?
- Do you have the fear that your body will let out the signs of anxiety, such as your blushing, sweating, or trembling?
- Do you realise that your fear is excessive or ungrounded?
2. Do you experience any of the followings when confronted with a feared situation
- extreme uneasiness
- a panic attack, during which you suffer an intense and acute fear which is also accompanied by physical discomforts such as racing heart, shortness in breath, chest pain, dizziness, sweating, trembling, nausea or diarrhea, numbness, cold or hot flashes.
- Have you tried everything possible to avoid facing the situations which you fear?
- Does your fear impact your ability to cope with daily life?
3. With regard to accompanying symptoms:
- Have you changed your sleeping or eating habits recently?
- Do you often find life meaningless and your efforts worthless?
- Do you often feel sad, depressed or extremely guilty for something?
4. In the past year, have you experienced one of the followings as a result of alcohol or drug abuse:
- inability to fulfill work, study or family responsibilities.
- dangerous situation, such as driving a car under the influence.
- being arrested.
- continued abuse of alcohol or drug despite the problems caused to you or yours.
As you can tell, the social anxiety disorder self test is designed in a way to evaluate your emotional and physical sypmtoms, your perception towards social interaction, and whether you also have other conditions (such as depression or substance abuse) which may complicate the diagnosis of anxiety disorder.
The results will be more accurate if you answer all questions without trying to hide the truth. Apparently, you will need the professional help if most of your answers to the test are positive.
In fact, there is no need to shy away from the doctors. With the number of the victims today, you can assure yourself that you are just one of the many many cases out there.
In the treatment of anxiety disorders, and social anxiety disorders in particular, the role of medical professionals is just as important as the drugs.
Table of Contents
What Is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is something far beyond the general nervousness or discomfort in public situations which most people have experience of.
People suffering from a social anxiety disorder are anxious and self-conscious to an extreme degree in day-to-day life situations, whether they are facing a crowd or one person.
They have an excessive fear of being watched and judged by other people, and such crippling, intense and chronic fear often lead to emotional turmoil as well as physical ailments.
Feelings of Fear and Panic
Who among us has never been in a large group of people and felt timid, nervous, and even downright terrified? Feelings such as these can happen from time to time, especially if we are a generally shy person.
But when feelings of fear and panic are present in all situations such as these, you may be exhibiting signs of social anxiety – persistent and severe heightened fear and panic in social situations.
When these feelings take over and begin to impact the way in which you socialize and engage in personal relationships, it is thought that treatment can significantly benefit the way in which we manage these overwhelming feelings.
How to Recognize It?
Social anxiety is defined as feelings of fear or panic in anticipation of social situations – or while participating in social situations.
These psychological feelings that people are judging you or you are under a microscope can lead to physical symptoms that may include increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, sweating, shaking, headache, and diarrhea, among others.
While social anxiety is considered an occurrence, social anxiety disorder falls within the umbrella of anxiety disorder that encapsulates everything from generalized anxiety disorder to obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias.
Problems in Everyday Life
A diagnosis of social anxiety disorder is generally made when there is ongoing and persistent feelings of panic and apprehension associated with commonplace social situations; daily life is thwarted by these feelings of anxiety and the sufferer sees the ramifications in their relationships – familial, platonic, and romantic.
People who experience this type of anxiety feel as if their every move is being watched and they are convinced that they will humiliate themselves in a room full of people. Often the fear is so palpable that all social interaction is avoided in order to avoid the feeling.
In fact, for anyone who has ever experienced stage fright while performing in front of a group of people, the feelings associated with social anxiety are much the same thing.
Those who suffer from this type of anxiety feel in a constant state of stage fright whenever they are in social situations – as if they are expected to perform.
Not surprisingly, those who suffer with this anxiety – and are not aware of the magnitude or definition of what they are managing – will often attempt to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs during social engagements.
Such substances often have the ability to lower inhibitions enough that sufferers can mange their social time without feeling incapacitated. But this is hardly the safe or effective way to treat anxiety.
What Can Be Done?
Treating this anxiety can be done in a number of ways. Cognitive-behavioral therapy with a licensed and reputable therapist teaches the patient how to rewire their thoughts and change their behaviors associated with the source of anxiety.
Often there is a certain amount of exposure therapy wherein the patient is introduced to sources of anxiety – but in a controlled and safe environment. The hope is that continued exposure with positive outcomes will eventually desensitize the patient from this type of anxiety.
Medication is also available that treats a wide variety of anxiety. Your doctor is best in the position to determine what medication may work for you and will monitor your progress. In most cases, a combination of therapy and medication works most successfully in treating social anxiety.
How Common Social Anxiety Disorder Is?
Medical studies and clinic research into the world neglected mental condition, social anxiety disorder, reveal that this condition is not new after all, contrary to many misperceptions of the general public.
There is approximately 7% of the population suffering from social anxiety in the world. However, advancement in medical research has made treatment of social anxiety possible with medications specifically aim at healing social anxiety as well as generally mild anti-depressants that are normally applied and used for all other different kinds of anxiety disorders.
Very often, social anxiety disorder may be easily misdiagnosed or even be mistaken as a form of shyness. Having said that, many sufferers of social anxiety are not even aware nor suspect that they are experiencing an anxiety disorder.
What Exactly Is Social Anxiety Disorder?
It can be defined as fear of social occasions and situations and the interaction with people due to feelings of negative evaluation, inadequacy, embarrassment, humiliation and self consciousness.
Whenever you are exposed to several social or performance situations, you will feel markedly distress and anxious. This form of phobia provoked by the social situations exceeds the ordinary shyness when it ultimately leads to complete or excessive social avoidance and invariably causing substantial social impairment.
There is this point in time that you recognize that it has nothing to do with your inactive personality or weakness in character and that you must do something with it!
First rest assured that you can generally use Social Anxiety medications to treat your condition, but its always a good idea to make certain that you truly are suffering from Social Anxiety and not just plain shyness.
So here are a few symptoms for you to look out for when next you find yourself in that position.
Physical Symptoms and Manifestation
The physical symptoms of social anxiety disorder are associated with two or more of the signs that are caused by persistent fear of worry, negative feeling of embarrassment and humiliation such as restlessness, feeling of fatigue, trembling and sweaty palms, lack of focus, muscle tension or sleep disturbance.
There is a high possibility when you experience irritability, shortness of breath and intense anxiety and worry that suggest that you are suffering from a social anxiety disorder.
The social anxiety symptoms closely resemble the ordinary shyness but they can be differentiated in terms of the intensity and extreme experience of anxiety and tension.
Social anxiety disorder is medically treatable with the advances and improvement in medicines and treatments through continuous research and development.
At the early stage of the disorder, it is critical to receive the appropriate medical intervention by drug-based medication or non-drug based medication or combination of both because they have demonstrated success in treating social anxiety effectively.
Alternative medicines have also recently grown in popularity, of which therapy is often used widely for healing social anxiety. There are no clear guidelines on the best course of treatment; therefore, you are able to ensure that you receive the appropriate combination of treatments by consulting with a professional health-care center.