What is social anxiety disorder? Causes, symptoms and treatment

Social anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive anxiety and panic when faced with a social environment, such as standing in front of a class or going to a public place. Patients often choose to stay at home and avoid going out, causing a lot of impact on relationships and quality of daily life.

What is social anxiety disorder?

Social anxiety disorder is scientifically known as Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia. The disease belongs to the group of anxiety disorders and is ranked 3rd in the prevalence of psychological and mental diseases today. Statistics show that up to 15 million American adults suffer from this disease.

Social anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive anxiety when standing in front of people, when talking to strangers.

The person’s overwhelming feelings of anxiety will appear when they are forced to socialize, talk, or participate in social activities. This is a chronic health problem that makes people feel like everyone is looking at them, talking about them even when they’re not.

The patient is always obsessed with the look and evaluation of the people around him, always thinking that people will lower and scrutinize him. These things make them always have to find a way to hide so they don’t have to go outside. Stress symptoms will increase when the person has to go to a crowded place or simply give a presentation.

People with social anxiety disorder need medical treatment combined with psychotherapy to control their excessive anxiety and self-confidence skills to be able to cope with social anxiety. normal life.

Manifestations of social anxiety disorder

Symptoms of social anxiety disorder appear when the person is exposed to stressful situations. Expressions are expressed on both emotional and physical sides, making the person unable to face the situation directly, so he will find a way to escape.

Social anxiety disorder

Facing stressful events will make the patient find it difficult to breathe and sweat

The physical symptoms of social anxiety disorder are as follows:

  • Feeling short of breath, angina, heart palpitations when facing stressful events or situations
  • Trembling limbs, blushing, sweatingRapid breathing, shortness of breath, feeling like standing unsteadily
  • Feeling of stomach pain, stomach boiling, wanting to go to the toilet
  • Dizziness, dizziness, feeling like fainting
  • Difficulty sleeping, having nightmares, waking up easily, especially when coming home from work
  • Dry mouth and throat, nausea and possibly vomiting too
  • Tight muscles, convulsions

Emotional symptoms are quite obvious as follows

  • Always in a state of restlessness, anxiety, standing still if you need to go out or if someone starts a conversation
  • Feelings of extreme panic, worried that one’s behavior might get people’s attention or gossip

Social anxiety disorder

Patients often try to avoid responsibility for activities in crowded places

  • Pay close attention to the thoughts and words of others to know if it is related to you
  • Worrying days before that event happens
  • Tends to use alcohol or drugs if facing an event
  • Always have the feeling that people around you are looking, pointing and talking about you even though it’s not
  • Tends to avoid all events and situations that require communication, conversation, speech, or going to crowded places. People with social anxiety disorder tend to stay indoors a lot instead of going out, which can provide peace of mind and limit agitation or panic attacks.
  • Isolate yourself by dropping out of school or work to avoid society
  • In some patients with mild social anxiety disorder, they may struggle to overcome their fear, so that they can be close to and socialize with people. However, gradually this will make them panic even more

Certain situations can increase anxiety in patients with social anxiety disorder

  • A stranger started a conversation
  • Go to public places
  • Do tasks that require a team
  • Must give a presentation or present in front of a large crowd
  • Forced to participate in an activity with a large number of people, even if it is full of acquaintances
  • Patients can avoid problems such as talking on the phone, eating in public, shopping in person, interviewing for jobs.

In fact, the patients themselves can completely understand that they are having unreasonable panic attacks, but they still cannot control their fears.

Causes of social anxiety disorder

The cause of the patient’s vague anxieties is not known at this time, but factors such as past obsessions, long-term stress, or heredity are also thought to be involved. to disease.

Social anxiety disorder

Deficiencies in neurotransmitters are thought to be involved in the cause of the disease

Specifically, the causes associated with social anxiety disorder such as

  • Deficiency of neurotransmitters: the lack of brain chemicals such as serotonin, Dopamine, GABA can also be a factor that makes our spirits weaker, having difficulty regulating mood, so it is easy to become depressed. anxiety, agitation more than usual
  • Genetic factors: Although there are no genes related to heredity, doctors believe that children whose parents have social anxiety disorder are often at higher risk of developing the disease due to the influence of genetic factors. by the way of education, how to interact or connect with your child every day
  • Brain structure: the amygdala (uh-MIG-duh-luh) is a brain structure that controls fear responses, so if the amygdala is overactive, it can cause anxiety and panic reactions. excessively with everyday social situations
  • Obsessed with past keywords: bullying, abuse, excessive teasing, isolation, family conflicts, excessive stress from work can all be the cause of an anxiety disorder. social obsession.

Some studies show that people who tend to be timid, shy, and lack self-confidence are also at higher risk of developing the disease. In addition, people with disabilities, people with poor appearance are also prone to phobias and encounter this condition.

Consequences of social anxiety disorder

Although the symptoms of social anxiety disorder are often only present in certain situations, not as long-lasting as generalized anxiety disorder, but the consequences it has on the patient’s life are still very serious.

Social anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder greatly affects people’s work and relationships

In mild cases, the patient may only have problems in crowded places, when forced to speak, but in everyday life they can still function normally. However, there are also many cases where patients have chosen to isolate themselves to stay away from obsessions and worries from surrounding situations.

What are the consequences that social anxiety disorder can have on the patient’s life?

  • Having difficulty in relationships, the sick person can almost only be friends with one or a few people. There are people who will isolate themselves, do not go out to communicate, so they do not have friends or they can choose to text or make friends online.
  • Having trouble finding work. People with mild social anxiety disorder can still struggle to participate in activities of daily living, but in severely ill people, they will most likely choose to hide at home, so many people will facing difficulties in finding suitable jobs, not having to go out but still have enough to support themselves.
  • The patient’s fears, if they cannot be shared, will gradually become more negative, overly sensitive to words or actions from those around them, and also have a high risk of depression. Some people also have a tendency to self-harm or commit suicide to relieve excessive stress and anxiety in their minds.
  • Because of social anxiety, patients rarely go to crowded places, have few friends, so they may also lack the necessary social skills. When sad, they also tend to turn to alcohol or cigarettes to relieve difficult emotions.

Guidelines for the treatment of social anxiety disorder

Patients themselves often refuse to go out and meet unknown doctors, so family and relatives need to encourage, encourage or find ways to arrange for the patient to see a doctor as soon as possible. Patients can use medication in combination with psychotherapy to control anxiety and regain confidence in life.

Drug treatment

Medicines cannot completely relieve the patient of anxiety, but only partially control the patient’s emotions, thereby raising the spirit and gradually improving the symptoms of excessive anxiety. However, the use of drugs still comes with many side effects, if used incorrectly can cause more serious consequences.

Social anxiety disorder

The use of certain medications can provide temporary control of anxiety symptoms

Depending on the patient’s condition, psychiatrists often prescribe some of the following drug classes:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Paroxetine (Paxil) or Sertraline (Zoloft) are usually prescribed by your doctor first.
  • Selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as Venlafaxine (Effexor XR) are also indicated for these patients.

Depending on the patient’s condition such as insomnia, impaired memory, some other drugs are also prescribed as appropriate supplements. Patients need to absolutely follow the instructions from the doctor to ensure absolute safety, to avoid other bad consequences that may appear.


Social anxiety disorder is a mental illness that many people are experiencing today. The negative things that keep accumulating in the head that are not cleared will gradually become a black shadow covering the mind, creating fear for the patient. Solving problems in the mind and releasing emotions for customers is the job of psychologists.

Psychotherapy is the mainstay of treatment for people with social anxiety disorder. Psychologists will explain to clients that their worries are irrational, learn to look at problems psychologically, and regain confidence in everyday social situations.

Methods commonly used in psychotherapy with patients with social anxiety disorder include:

  •  Behavioral therapy helps patients learn to manage excessive feelings of anxiety through breathing and relaxation therapies. At the same time, experts also direct patients to positive thinking and gradually eliminate incorrect negative thoughts to lead a more stable life.
  • Exposure therapy helps patients learn to deal with stressful situations instead of trying to avoid them. Over time, this will help reduce the patient’s fear level.
  • Group therapy with people with similar conditions so that patients learn to interact with each other and gradually integrate into normal life. At the same time, group therapy also helps patients reduce loneliness, find someone to share, so it also prevents the risk of depression.

Most patients with social anxiety disorder receive a combination of medication and psychotherapy to quickly improve their symptoms. Patients should look to reputable psychological facilities for treatment support, effective psychological improvement, and avoid long-term bad consequences.

Care and treatment at home

Home care and treatment are also very important in the treatment of social anxiety disorder. Patients should consider living with their family to have support and gradually learn how to communicate and interact with people. Families should also participate in psychotherapy and consult a doctor to know how to best support the patient.

Social anxiety disorder

Breathing therapy will help the patient relax and calm down

Some home care measures can help people with social anxiety disorder such as

  • Breathing therapy can help patients manage excessive anxiety during stressful situations
  • Meditation is a therapy that helps patients balance emotions, stabilize psychology, relax the spirit, remove negative emotions, so it is very good for people who are having psychological problems.
  • Make sure to get enough rest every day, get enough sleep, avoid staying up too late. When the body sleeps enough, it will recharge enough energy and help the mind to be sharper and more optimistic
  • Exercise every day, go out for a run or bike ride. Patients can invite more relatives to practice together in the first days to reduce excessive anxiety, gradually practice alone.
  • Stay away from alcohol, tobacco or any other stimulants
  • Practice communication habits, you can learn to speak alone in front of a mirror, learn to reassure yourself to dare to try to stand up for presentations or go to crowded places.
  • Learn to think positively, see problems in many ways
  • Change to a healthy scientific diet, prioritizing more fiber found in green vegetables and fruits, minimizing the use of bad fats, greasy foods
  • Seeking sharing from friends and relatives to relieve negative things, avoid accumulating ugly things in the brain.

Social anxiety disorder greatly affects the quality of life of each person, so it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Each person should practice a more scientific life habit, learn how to release emotions, relax mentally to minimize the risk of these psychological problems.

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