Social Anxiety Symptoms
Are you wondering whether you have social anxiety symptoms? This page lists them so you judge for yourself. Then there's a short discussion about a new treatment approach.
Social Phobia Symptoms
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), here's the symptoms:
- A persistent irrational fear of situations in which the person may be closely watched and judged by others, as in public speaking anxiety, eating, or using public facilities.
- The patient strongly, repeatedly fears at least one social or performance situation that involves facing strangers or being watched by others. The patient specifically fears showing anxiety symptoms or behaving in some other way that will be embarrassing or humiliating. The phobic stimulus almost always causes anxiety, which may be a cued or situationally predisposed panic attack.
- The patient realizes that this fear is unreasonable or out of proportion.
- The patient either avoids the situation or endures it with severe distress or anxiety.
- Either there is marked distress about having the phobia or it markedly interferes with the patient's usual routines or social, job or personal functioning.
- Under the age of 18, and have the symptoms for 6 months or longer.
- The symptoms are not better explained by a different mental disorder, including Anxiety Disorders, Dysmorphic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizoid Personality Disorder.
- The symptoms are not directly caused by a general medical condition or by substance use, including medications and drugs of abuse.
- If the patient has another mental disorder or a general medical condition, the phobia is not related to it.
- Specify whether Generalized. The patient fears most social situations.
- Associated Features: Depressed Mood. Somatic/Sexual Dysfunction. Addiction. Anxious/Fearful/Dependent Personality.
Be Careful Self Diagnosing
I hope this list of social anxiety symptoms convinces you that you don't have it. Please don't confuse a few butterflies or pre-speech nerves with a mental disorder.
We're social animals us humans, so it's unlikely you're a sufferer even if you feel bad sometimes. Most people do when it comes to speaking in public.
New Treatment Approach
I heard a radio interview yesterday which described a new treatment approach for depression. The unique thing about this approach seems to be that it actually works!
Unlike drugs and psycho therapy, this approach helps most of the people who follow it. I hadn't realized just how few people (less than 4%) get long term relief through medications.
Anyway, the 'treatment' is called 'The Depression Cure', but it's really nothing more than organized lifestyle change. It recognizes that depression (and most mental illnesses) happens so much these days, because our bodies and minds aren't designed for modern life. Essentially we're stone age people trying to live a 21st century life!
"HEALTH WARNING:" The steps aren't specifically targeted at social phobia, they're for people who are suffering from a severe mental disorder - Depressive Disorder. If you have social anxiety symptoms and you take part in these activities, you may start feeling better. The author takes no responsibility for any increased enjoyment of public speaking or any other social situation :)
- Exercise. If they could put the effects of exercise into a pill, it'd be the best selling drug of all time.
- Omega 3 Fats. Take a high quality fish oil supplement, or chug down granny's cod liver oil.
- Sunlight. The retina has special receptors which have a broadband connection to the brain centers that make you feel good. Of course then there's Vitamin D which most of us are deficient in.
- Sleep. Learn how to get 8 hours a night at least.
- Engaging Activity. Anything that you enjoy that gets your brain going. Watching TV does the exact opposite! For me it's writing, reading, playing guitar, playing with my kids, public speaking, gardening, working, jogging etc. What would your list be?
- Social Connections. We're social critters. Start small. You don't learn swimming by jumping in the deep end of the pool. You also don't learn it by reading s book or surfing the web. At some point you gotta get at least a bit wet!
Not a bad list is it?
The thing I find fascinating is that it helps people who are severely depressed, and who haven't got relief from traditional treatments like drugs or psycho therapy.
If it works on a tough crowd like that, maybe it'll help your social anxiety symptoms. Maybe it'll help you feel better around other people. I hope so.
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