Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), people with this disorder have trouble talking to and meeting new people as well as attending social gatherings. Fearing being judged or scrutinized by others.
This disorder manifests at an early age (childhood or adolescence), is chronic (a long term disorder), rarely resolves itself, and increases the risk of developing depression or substance addiction. We know that the sooner intervention is made and treatment is offered, the greater the possibility of successful treatment, avoiding the difficulty this brings to its sufferest suffering, including lower quality of life, as well as the loss of opportunity in a person’s professional, personal and academic life.
Despite all this, a low proportion of people with Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder seek help and this is one of the main problems of the disorder.
A shocking 97.8% of all Social Anxiety Disorder cases are diagnosed!
Why Do So Many Doctors Think My Disorder Is Fake
Well, not fake per se, but unrecognised, undiagnosed. Those of us who suffer from social anxiety disorder are not only impedimented in seeking help, as it’s so so difficult for acknowledge we need it, build ourselves up to talk to our doctors to then finally be brushed under the rug.
Even when Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder patients see their primary care physician — which takes a lot for people with social anxiety disorder, as the very nature of this disorder is the overwhelming fear and stress these type of interactions cause — and are being evaluated for a mental disorder, their Social Anxiety Disorder goes undetected.
A shocking 97.8% of all Social Anxiety Disorder cases are diagnosed! That’s a scary statistic. The fact that it is not recognized means that that person simply will not receive adequate treatment and the problem will worsen over time, which is why so many sufferers of SAD develop depression and addiction due to substance.
The lack of recognition of Social Anxiety Disorder is even worse in those cases where SAD is present with other mental disorders, such as depression. However, three out of four patients diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder want to receive specific treatment, not the cookie-cutter, one size fits all treatment.
“They’re just shy, they’ll get over it”
How many times have you heard this very statement or something similar said to you. It’s a sad fact that most people that don’t suffer from SAD think it’s just something you can get over as if there’s a switch somewhere on your body that you can flix, and hey presto, no more SAD. It’s almost ironic that Social Anxiety Disorder abbreviates as SAD, since the sufferers feel pangs of sadness and guilt due to not being able to be as sociable, outgoing, or comfortable around others, making them withdraw even more to avoid these painful fealing.
SAD is often accompanied by low self-esteem and excessive perfectionism, and as a result, it tends to cause depression over time if not treated.
It begins in childhood or adolescence, because of a hostile emotional environment or having suffered a humiliating experience. Which leads to regression, avoidance and eventually a paralyzing fear to be around others. Since SAD manifests in early childhood it is difficult to diagnose in time and sufferers can go many years being left untreated.
Why Are You Looking At Me Like That?
Overcoming social anxiety is not easy. Sufferers of SAD report feelings of being constantly watched, and finding it difficult to avoid. Research has shown the two main reasons SAD sufferers can’t shake this feeling of being watched are:
That our brains are programmed to assume that people are looking at us even when they are not.
In addition, people with social phobia also interpret the neutral expressions on the faces of others as negative.
So not only do we think that people look at them, but also with a face that shows anger, scorn and intimidation.
Other professionals believe that the source of SAD is different. Rather than situations of hostility and shame being the cause, they believe that it is the consequence of extreme empathy, SAD sufferers being so sensitive to the emotional state of others that it provokes a torrent of feelings that they cannot control.
This theory has created the argument that patients with SAD should not seek a solution to their “problem” but rather accept it because it is a kind of gift, a special sensitivity.
Why So Few SAD Sufferers Seek Help?
Due to the early onset of the disorder and the appearance of the first symptoms in childhood or adolescence, along with its chronicity, people feel that these symptoms of social anxiety accompany them throughout their lives and may come to consider that it is part of their way of being that they simply cannot change. It is also true that social anxiety and generalized social anxiety disorder have received less attention compared to other anxiety disorders or depression.
Many patients with social anxiety have found help and relief by attending support groups with other sufferers, who better understand them and allow them space, time and freedom to slowly build bonds in difficult social settings.
Sharing your story with others, taking control of your narrative and sharing what has worked for you in your fight with SAD is also a powerful tool. Building relationships through telling your story and helping others like you is one of our founding ethos at Mindsmatter.
If you feel like it, perhaps share your story, or simply drop in to say hi. We’d love to hear from.
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