“We are disturbed not by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about
what happens”(Epictetus). It is normal for anyone suffering with anxiety alongside other mental
health problems such
as depression or even suicidal feelings. For instance, you may feel nervous when confront a difficult situation
in life, before taking an examination or before making a significant decision.
However, what happen if people who have worry and fear are continuous and overwhelming,
and can be incapacitated especially about every social affairs. It may be the indication
of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), also called Social Phobia, one of three
typical types of mental health problem with complicated patterns. In addition,
Social anxiety disorder happens when we feel exceedingly worried about being embarrassed and judged by others (NIH,
2014). According to a survey conducted
by ADAA, Social anxiety disorder made a tremendous impact on nearly 15 million
American adults and millons of people all over the world suffered from this
psychological disorder. Therefore, scientists and psychologists have made great
efforts to discover the effective treatments to help patients overcome this
serious illness. This paper is for the purpose of raising awareness about SAD, as
well as discussing its symptoms, causes, effects and treatments.
2.1. The symptoms of
As reported by Richards (cited in Social Anxiety Association, n.d.),
those who undergo social anxiety disorder get into a powerful panic of being
negatively judged and scrutinized by other people or even fear interacting with
strange individuals in a social setting. Critically, most of the people
suffering from social phobia realize that they should not be as anxious as they
are, but ther panic is actually out of control. As a matter of fact, they are
afraid of talking, presenting in meetings or in groups, having dialogues with
people, while others are concerned about and avoid a variety of social states.
Entering into details, social anxiety disorder is recognized by two
main types of symptoms: emotional symptoms and physiological symptoms. As
reviewed by Goldberg (cited in WebMD, 2017), all socially anxious people have
diverse explanations for nervous feelings in definite situations. But in
general, people usually encounter substantial emotional distress in the
following social affairs: being introduced to strange people or when confronted
with new people, being witnessed or stalked while doing something, being the
centre of concentration, having to perform in a formal, public situation,
annoying somebody by chance. Along with emotional symptoms, the physiological
expressions which are associated with social anxiety disorder may consist of strong
apprehension, rapid heartbeat, self-consciousness, dry throat and mouth,
extreme sweating, shake, hard swallow, unsettled stomach or other intestinal
pain, breathlessness, faintness, convulsion and eye contact issues. Constant,
severe fear that does not go away is the most typical symptom. (Richards, cited
in SAA. n.d.).
2.2. The causes of
There are no obvious reasons why social anxiety disorder happens.
However, there are some pieces of information that are ascertained to have
caused this type of disorder (Goldberg, cited in Webmb. n.d). First of all, genetics
may be the first reason leading to this mental problem. Individuals who have a
family member suffering with social phobia will be easily influenced or
hypnotized than others. Secondly, it can also be related to having an
overactive amygdala, one of the structures in the brain controlling the fear
According to Mayo Clinic Staff (2017), the main cause of SAD seems to
be severe, extended, negative experience in early childhood. Victims have to
tolerate frequent occurrences of horrendous physical or sexual abuse in
childhood but primarily early mid-childhood, a momentous course of development.
Additionally, children who experience practical jokes, torment, denunciation,
mockery or disgrace may be more susceptible to social phobia. A lot of
discouraging events in life, such as family dispute, fail or trauma are also
accompanied with social anxiety disorder. In some people, beauty treatment or
shudder because of Parkinson’s complaint can multiply the feelings of
embarrassment and may trigger social anxiety disorder attack.
As Jefferson (2001) reported, behavioural inhibition can be a principal
predisposition to increasing the risk of having social anxiety as well as other
mental problems. Many different features impact on individuals during the
period of growth and are probable to interrelate in complicated ways to elevate
or avoid the beginning of social anxiety disorder.
In general, the derivations of social phobia are assorted and complicated.
and harsh conditions are probably hazard elements for this serious disorder.
Wang et al. (2016) also asserted that there
is an involvement among parenting styles, family functioning and social phobia.
And assured genetic trains can lead to socially anxious condition. However, it
is vital not to dwell too powerfully on the fundamental causes of social
anxiety disorder. Moderately, the emphasis should be for the purpose of the
awkward thoughtful patterns which are preserving it.
2.3. The impacts of SAD on people
Jefferson (2001) noted the massive influence of social anxiety disorder on standard of living. For a individual with
social anxiety disorder, daily social affairs bring about so much depression,
anxiety and suicidal tendency that separation seems like a liberation. Social
anxiety disorder prevents victims from living their own lives. They will avoid
the circumtances which are considered “usual” by other people. They even face a
difficult moment being aware of how other people can manage them without remarkable
Angélico et al. (2013)
hypothesized that SAD patients do not
have enough necessary verbal and non-verbal abilities to tackle
social contact or performance situations. As a result, they show a variety
of educational, professional and social incapacity. This is a confusion of
misplaced chances because individuals must spend most of their time on fighting
against their disease. For instance, learners having social anxiety disorder
tend to drop out of school in the early stages due to their nervousness of
poorly performing in their study more than their colleagues who do not suffer
from this illness. Besides, suffers of social phobia aslo have disturbed and
unreliable employment history podcast such that they are likely to transfer from
one office to another. Because they are worried about being unsuccessful or not
completing work when they carry out a assignment which does not bring forth the
good results as they expect. In some other situations, the fear of fullfilling leading an
obligation usually makes them be away from work until they feel identically
gratified that they will not be accquainted with the similar duty.
According to Stein & Walker (n.d.), the
absence of confidence and motivation affected by social anxiety disorder makes victims become lonely and separete as they are not able to make friends
or interact with people. For example, children who have to put up with the
illness will have few friends and count upon them for all social situations.
But families change place, children move to a new school, and it may be needed
for them to start new relationships. This is actually hard for socially anxious
children to adapt to a different living condition and they may be more fearful
(Wells, 1998). In other words, the frightened feeling of failing to be admited
in the new location will strengthen social anxiety disorder.
There is an alarm fact that most victims
experiencing SAD try to commit suicide. The cause behind foolish actions is
because of the fear and desperate feelings when living in the periods of
privacy too persistent (Nepon,
Belik, Bolton and Sareen, 2010). After a shameful state among people, those who
having social phobia feel extremely hopeless about themselves such that they
can find no reasonable solution to their problem except trying to kill
With these serious consequences above,
it cannot be negated that social anxiety disorder brings about a large number
of difficulties, which force victims to put more effort into quite recovered
2.4. Treatments for SAD
In any forms of mental health
problems, the treatments can give sufferers as well as SAD people a great
chance of getting back to their normal lives. According to SANE Australia, treatments
include all the diverse ways in which people having mental illness can reduce
the impacts of disease and raise the ability of recovery. And also, there are
many treatments for people suffering from social phobia such as psychological
therapy, medication and most importanly the supports from others.
First of all, the method considered
to be an effective cure for social anxiety disorder is psychotherapy or cognitive-behavior therapy. As Stein &
Gorman (2001) mentioned that Cognitive-behavior treatment helps patients create
and maintain a positive attitude on contact among people as well as modify
their opinions about themselves. This kind of therapy is also suggested to
consult psychologists and advisors to help patients deal with their problems.
With the help of cognitive-behavior therapy, people suffering from this
disorder may not be fearful and anxious in interacting with other people.
Additionally, social anxiety disorder is
treated by medications. However, this method does not have a prolonged effect
to enhance patients’ recovery without the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Medications bring patients many positive signals, but not all, sufferers from
social anxiety disorder because sometimes this treatment may not “suitable” for human brain structure
and their functions (Richards, n.d.). Nevertheless, patients can use some types
of medications to impermanently diminish the warning signs of the illness such
as headache, shake, breathing difficulty.
Last but not at least, the
appropriate supports from family and friends play an important role in completing
recovery process in patients having social phobia. Albano (cited in CFYM, 2014)
mentioned that family members and especially parents need to get a accurate and
cryptical understanding of this mental issue as well as help patients develop
friendships. Friendships are the fundamental factors to preserve the social
interaction and social support, which are extremely necessary for sufferers not
to stand the isolated feelings.
This research aims to prove social
anxiety disorder is not just introversion or shyness. People with this serious
illness not only lose the ability to speak in public and interact with people
but also became victims from dishonest behaviors of human such as bullying,
rape joke or discrimination, it is most urgent that we operate to protect them
from emotional and physical mistreatment. Undoubtedly, social phobia is
exceedingly subjective but the innovations in the treatment of this mental
health problem have brought hope and faith in a bright future.