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Social Anxiety Disorder: Finding Freedom From the Fear

In any given day, we are likely to be around other people. It could be at work or school, in a store, on a bus, or just walking through our neighborhoods. Most people don't even think about this. It's a natural part of living our lives.

But people who have social anxiety disorder do think about it. They think about it a lot. It makes them very nervous and fills them with fear. Their ongoing anxiety about being judged, humiliated, or embarrassed in public makes it hard for them to do things they need to do or would enjoy doing. People with the disorder may be able to avoid some social situations. But they know they'll eventually have to function around other people.

Change of mind

Social anxiety disorder seems to be rooted in how people think about themselves, other people, and their environment. Chances are it won't go away on its own. And the constant stress on emotional health can harm physical health, too. But help is available, and it's important for people with the condition to get the help they need.

Behavioral health care professionals use a type of talk therapy called cognitive therapy to treat people for social anxiety disorder. It helps people work through their fears by teaching them different ways of thinking about and reacting to situations. It can also help people improve their social skills so they feel less nervous and anxious around other people.

There are medicines for treating anxiety and depression. In some cases, behavioral health care professionals use both talk therapy and medicine to help people with social anxiety disorder. With treatment, most people recover from the condition or learn to control the symptoms well enough to enjoy a better quality of life.

Because people with social anxiety disorder are afraid of being judged by others, it may be hard for them to reach out and ask for help. But behavioral health care professionals do the type of work they do because they want to help people stop hurting emotionally. They respect people's thoughts and feelings, and have the skills to treat conditions like social anxiety disorder.

If you are not already in treatment for social anxiety disorder and feel you could benefit from outpatient therapy, please contact PerformCare.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health