Behind Fragile Walls*
by michelle.bsparkx on February 23, 2017 - 3:02pm
Social Anxiety Disorder (S.A.D.) is characterized by the fear of social situations where the person suffering may be judged, either from speaking in front of others or generalized anxiety regarding eating or going to the bathroom in public. These two types of fear are almost equally represented in those with S.A.D. according to Statistics Canada. Although there have been many studies and research on the disorder it is seldom mentioned like it should be.
The Huffington Post Canada, the Hindustantimes and The Gazette published articles recently on this disorder. The Huffington Post Canada article was written by Chloe Tejada on the 21st of November in 2016 and directs the reader to watch the 2 minute video at the top of the article which summarises the disorder. The video the writer presents to the reader and the article itself are both titled “How To Treat Social Anxiety Disorder”. The Hindustantimes article written by Sanchita Sharma, on the other hand, goes into much more depth about the disorder and notes that in the past ten years the amount of people who have went for help regarding this mental illness has doubled in India. This article was written a few months after the Canadian article on the 29th of January of this year with the title “Fear of being judged by others? Here’s how to fight the demons in your head”. The Gazette article written by Sharon Kirkey titled “Shy - or social phobic?” was published on December sixth of 2003 and although it is older than the other two articles much of the information is still relevant today. The article mentions Earla Dunbar, a person mentioned in my previous news summary, and her struggle with Social Phobia, another way Social Anxiety Disorder is referred to as. A significant difference in this piece of writing however, is that it mentions how there are some who believe this disorder is being over exaggerated so that the drug markets get more money. It does, however, continue by stating, like the Hindustantimes article, that there is a distinct difference between shyness and Social Anxiety Disorder because the mental illness causes great interference with the lives of those who suffer from this. Each of these articles, however, mention that the disorder is treatable and the majority of those who get the help can live their lives almost free of the mental illness, although many don’t get help until ten years have passed.
Many of those suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder are not diagnosed because it is often labeled as shyness instead. The most obvious symptom of the disorder would be avoiding social situations or enduring them with intense fear. Some physical symptoms are sweating, shaking, breathlessness and avoiding eye contact. These symptoms begin to show most commonly when a person is around 13 years old. Those suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder, as well as many other anxiety disorders, also often suffer from Depression and may begin to abuse tobacco, alcohol and drugs in their teenage years. Two common ways people work to overcome this mental illness include taking medication, counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy is when the person slowly exposes themselves to the situations that they fear, often with a psychologist or psychiatrist, until they have no fear or can cope with it much easier, as well as becoming aware of where the fear comes from.
While it may not be easy to help those who suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder, it is definitely helpful and approachable to read up on the mental illness. Becoming more aware of what many are suffering from and trying to understand this mental illness will bring us that much closer to creating a comfortable environment for more people to get help. Below I have attached links to the articles mentioned above as well as an Australian news article. There are also a couple links for information on this disorder, some statistics and facts that put into perspective just how many people suffer from this mental illness as well as its impact and a website one can go to for help with Social Anxiety Disorder, as well as other mental illnesses.
Links to articles:
Additional article of interest (Australia)
Statistics and facts
Resource for help