Social Anxiety: A General Overview

Submitted By kevinp_94
Words: 1110
Pages: 5

Social Anxiety – A General Overview
Intro to Psychology Class
Mr. Anonymous

When the topic of writing about a mental illness was first brought up in Mr. Thurlow’s Tuesday/Thursday psychology class, I immediately decided that I was going to write about social anxiety. This is an illness that I have to deal with on a day-to-day basis, and was “diagnosed” with the illness about three years ago. While researching, I found out a lot of things that I didn’t know prior to the researching process. It was interesting to find out some of the causes, tests, treatments, etc. of social anxiety that I did not know about or experience. There are also some symptoms that other people have that I don’t have, which was also very interesting to me. All of these things will be explained throughout my paper. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines social anxiety disorder as when a person has an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations. In other words, the person with social anxiety gets nervous or anxious when having to do anything socially or publically. It can be made worse with a lack of social skills or experience in social situations. Some symptoms of this (while being put into situations that activate social anxiety) are sweating, nausea, shaking, stuttering of words, nervousness, anxiousness, and sometimes it can get as bad as vomiting, blacking out, and muscle spasms. (Kats, There are many situations that can trigger the symptoms of social anxiety, and they usually depend on the person. While I have certain circumstances that will trigger my symptoms, it can be completely different for somebody else with the same illness. Some common examples are eating, drinking, speaking, working, interacting, or talking on the phone with other people. Some other circumstances are using public facilities, driving, asking questions, dating, or going to an unfamiliar place. A lot of times, social anxiety is linked with other mental illnesses, such as panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and more. It is said that most people with social anxiety disorder will seek a psychologist with symptoms from those mental illnesses and not social anxiety. While researching, I found a website of testimonials of other people with social anxiety and found one from a man named Dan who shared the following words on “My name is Danny and I have struggled with generalized and social anxiety for as long as I can remember. Some of the earliest memories I have, in fact, are of being anxious. Even as a young kid I was petrified by minor social interactions; ordering food at a restaurant (I'd have a family member order for me), speaking to other kids at school, even at family functions I would avoid interaction as much as possible. As I got older the effect it had on my academic life grew more and more serious, particularly in college. I began skipping classes due to the severe anxiety I felt being in a classroom surrounded by peers. I failed several classes, not due to an inability to grasp the material, but because I was simply too terrified to be involved or show up. My social life suffered equally.” I found this testimonial to be very interesting, mainly because it is good to hear things from peoples’ personal perspectives. There are so many people affected by this mental illness. In fact, it is the third most common mental illness in the world, after depression and alcohol dependence. The way that social anxiety is diagnosed is by matching your symptoms to a certain criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Some of the list directly out of the DSM includes: “A persistent fear of social situations in which you believe you may be scrutinized or act in a way that's embarrassing or humiliating, these social situations cause you a great deal of anxiety, you recognize that your anxiety level is excessive or out of