Understanding Social Anxiety

Understanding Social Anxiety

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To say that our world is overstimulating is quite an understatement. People are often judged on their achievements and capabilities more than character. It’s easy to understand why so many people suffer from anxiety disorders.

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) was previously known as social phobia. SAD is related to situations in which a person fears that they’ll say or do something that leads to harsh judgment, ridicule or feelings of humiliation, embarrassment, or worse.

These fears aren't usually based in reality, and often the person with social anxiety realizes this. Despite that awareness, they’re unable to stop the feedback loop that fuels their anxiety.

Statistics vary globally, with the highest rates of social anxiety occurring in the US and more affluent countries. It’s estimated that 7% of Americans have social anxiety in any given year and 12% over a lifetime.

While there’s no known cause of social anxiety, experts believe that it's genetic, may be inherited, and has an environmental component. People with a parent who has SAD are 2-6 times more likely to have the disorder.

Those with avoidant personality traits are more likely to experience SAD. The two disorders co-occur frequently, with avoidance traits being considered more severe.

People who tend to internalize their feelings and fear judgment are also at risk for SAD. Some of this may be genetic or inherited, but social learning also strongly influences thinking patterns and coping skills that are likely related.

The disorder is more prevalent among women and people who are unmarried. There is also a correlation between SAD and expectations of high performance, such as in public speaking.

We will explore different aspects of SAD in this e-book!