Sunday September 15, 2019

Understanding Social Anxiety Disorder And The Myths Associated

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social anxiety
Social anxiety disorder is characterized by a significant amount of fear in one or more social situations. Flickr

Every human being once in his/her lifetime experience social awkwardness and it is not odd to experience it. Social anxiety is a general psychological problem, and yet we feel odd to share it because we are conditioned to believe that the problem is associated with being “abnormal”. This social anxiety may happen while you are presenting in a board meeting; reciting a poem in school, talking to strangers at parties.

People who experience it feel as though they are being constantly judged by the people around them. An article by writer and author Arlin Cuncic states that between 2% and 13% of the population is thought to have the problem to a level that it would be considered social anxiety disorder.

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Social Anxiety Disorder is a disorder in which people face social anxieties to an extent that it starts affecting their daily life activities. It is one of the most common mental disorders. People who face this problem feel as though they are the only ones to be suffering from the problem.

Causes:

Social Anxiety Disorder is believed to have generated from both environmental and genetic factors. Sometimes it may be just one of them or a combination of the both.

  • Genetic factors: It is believed that an imbalance in the neurotransmitter serotonin, a brain chemical which regulates emotions and moods play a role in the development of social anxiety disorder.
  • Environmental factors: Experienced bullying as a child, sexual abuse, and overprotective family environment can be some of the environmental factors.

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Myths associated with social anxiety disorder:

Myth 1- Social Anxiety is only fear of speaking in public

The fact is that social anxiety is anxiety and fear experienced in any/every social situation like- public speaking events; meeting strangers and interacting with them; going to spaces which mark the presence of a lot of public; disagreeing with someone.

Myth 2- Social Anxiety means that you’re only nervous

The fact is that social anxiety is not just nervousness but a collection of several symptoms like trembling hands, irrational thinking, and sweat.

Myth 3- Social Anxiety is a problem that you just have to live with

Living with social anxiety is not an advice to be given. What if a person’s social anxiety reaches a level where he/she cannot move from his/her home? There are medically proven solutions to this problem. Effective medication and behavioral therapy are highly recommended in cases of social anxiety disorder.

Despite living in the 21st century and being cognizant of human psychology and its growing problems, we associate mental health problems with being “crazy” and a “shame” to the society. If we need to combat psychological problems, we must start educating people and especially children about it. There must be textbook lessons and interactive sessions on mental health for children. If children are cognizant of the problems from a very young age, most of the psychological illness, the world is facing would be easily controlled.

by Megha Acharya of NewsGram. 

Next Story

How Americans Are Handling Post 9/11 Trauma

Eighteen years ago, more than 60% of Americans watched as the worst terror attack ever to occur on U.S. soil unfolded on television

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empire, state, building, us, 9/11, terrorism, safety
Covered in dust, ash and falling debris on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, New York City Transit's express coach #2185 could have been written off and sent off to scrap. It was decided, however, to rebuild her as a symbol of NYC Transit’s resiliency and a rolling example of the dedication of the agency’s employees. Wikimedia Commons

Eighteen years ago, more than 60% of Americans watched as the worst terror attack ever to occur on U.S. soil unfolded on television — either in real time or in repeated replays.

That up-close view of the murders of almost 3,000 people jolted Americans out of the sense of security they’d enjoyed at least since World War II.

“I think that up until that time, perhaps people were more optimistic or certainly had a sense that it couldn’t happen here. Terrorist attacks were something that happened overseas, but not in the United States on our soil,” says Roxane Cohen Silver, professor of psychological science at the University of California, Irvine.

“The concept of fearing violence on a day-to-day basis just wasn’t part of the existence of most people in the United States.”

Empire State building, US, New York, 9/11, trauma, mental health
TV viewers said the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack was the all-time most memorable moment shared by television viewers during the past 50 years, according to a 2012 study. VOA

Cohen Silver, who studies the impact of collective trauma, says some individuals with no direct connection to the 9/11 attacks exhibited symptoms that experts had previously assumed were the result of direct exposure to trauma.

“Individuals who watched a great deal of television in the first week after 9/11 were more likely to exhibit post-traumatic stress symptomatology and physical health ailments years later,” she says.

Those symptoms often included anxiety and fear, as well as the onset of physical health ailments such as cardiovascular issues.

“We learned from 9/11 that large-scale events could impact people beyond the directly affected communities, that the events that occurred in New York could impact people in Kansas,” Cohen Silver says. “The second message we’ve learned from 9/11 was the important role of the media in transmitting that awareness and that potential anxiety.”

Empire State building, US, New York, 9/11, trauma, mental health
Students and others watch live television coverage of the 9/11 attacks on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles, Sept. 11, 2001.
VOA

In the 18 years since 9/11, the rise of social media and smartphones has resulted in increased access to images of mass violence. In addition, there are no news editors or other middlemen to weed out potentially disturbing content. The speed with which these images reach people has also escalated.

Young Americans born after 9/11 have grown up in a world where acts of mass violence are increasingly commonplace.

More than 230 school shootings have occurred since 1999, when 13 people were killed at Columbine High School near Denver.

Mass attacks continue to occur in places that Americans commonly view as safe spaces, from the 2016 Orlando nightclub attack that killed 49; the 2017 Las Vegas concert shooting where 58 people were killed and hundreds more wounded; to last month’s shooting at a Texas Walmart that left 22 people dead.

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“We’re so consumed with new events, you know, current events, hurricanes, mass violence events. And there are many of these that occur, and they’re all tragic,” says Cohen Silver. “But the psychological effects of September 11, 2019, cannot be directly linked to the 9/11 attacks without considering all of the rest of the things that have occurred.”

While the average American cannot control the violence around them, they can protect their mental health by not inundating themselves with images of the tragedies, which can be psychologically unhealthy.

“I believe that people can be informed without becoming immersed in the media. There’s no obvious benefit to repeated exposure to images and sounds of tragedy,” says Cohen Silver. “And so, once people are informed, I would say to practice caution in the amount of media attention that they engage and the amount of media exposure that they engage in.” (VOA)