Social anxiety disorder is a situation characterized by intense fearing social situations such that the victim is considerably distressed and their ability to function normally is impaired. The social phobia is either specific when only one situation is feared or else it can be generalized where various social situations are feared. Social anxiety disorder can be identified as a persistent, intense and chronic fear of being judged by others thus ending up in humiliation and embarrassment after the individual carries out a specific action. The fears in social anxiety disorder are often triggered by the victim being scrutinized by other people or where the individual perceives that others are staring at them. This makes the individual abstain from various day-to-day activities where they stand a chance of being judged by others due to lack of confidence, tension and discomfort.Individuals who possess the disorder often tend to be shy; their mouth is always dry as well as trembling of major body parts and increased heart palpitations. Those who do not present the above symptoms usually tend to be very over conscious as well as afraid of being seen as incapable of any responsibility.
Effect of social anxiety disorder on the career/profession of the individual
People who are suffering from the social anxiety disorder often have disrupted and erratic working history such that they tend to move from one workplace to another. Because they are afraid of being branded failures when they undertake a project which does not yield the expected results they may fail to get involved in such initiatives (Shaw, 2005). Lack of confidence as well as the right atmosphere to venture into new projects as which may make them more committed leads to loss of employee commitment and thus they exit from that organization. Consequently, the ability to take up new innovations such as implementing new ideas and technology into the organization is impaired as they are haunted by what the others will say abut the new innovation.
This makes careers to stagnate as well as lack of enthusiasm in what one is doing and therefore the exodus in search for a better working environment becomes part of their lives. Another key area which derails the career of people with social anxiety disorders is the inability to communicate their feelings and opinions during workplace meetings. The fear of being humiliated by sharing out personal views about certain aspects which may be oppressive to employees clouds effective decision making (Bandelow and Stein, 2004).Sometimes the anxiety may be so much that the worker decides to feign illness to obtain leave form work incase there is a presentation by the individual. In some other cases the fear of being given leading responsibilities often makes them stay away from work until they are equally satisfied that they will not be presented with the same task.
This aspect of absconding from duty or being late reduces the productivity of the employee as well as increasing scrutiny from other employees who are assigned the duties of the absentee. Other than reduced productivity, most employers are very particular with employees who are always taking leave or those who arrive late at work with no apparent reason. Consequently, this provides a very favorable ground for firing the employee or summoning them up for disciplinary (Bandelow, 2004).Most employers often see such an employee who has an erratic work history as one who is not serious. This is a put-off for future potential employers who will question such behaviors as they are not normal. Persons who lack interest at work or who fear being given responsibilities at work may never advance their academic levels as it will mean more responsibilities will be assigned to them hence more chances for humiliation and scrutiny by the colleagues (Bandelow, 2004).
Effect on Relationships and marriage
Individuals suffering from social anxiety disorder often tend to be reserved and most of them remain single for the rest of their lives. They tend to fear social gatherings such as parties, discussion groups as well as recreational sites. The fear of going blank as well as uncontrolled sweating and stammering makes them abstain from any place which may expose them to such embarrassing conditions (Wells and Papageorgious, 1998).This reduces their opportunities of meeting new people as well as establishing acquaintances such that these people rarely have many friends. They tend to develop poor workplace relations as well as reluctance to get involved in discussion groups back in school. The same case applies for indulging and cooperation with their counterparts in collective problem solving which makes the whole process enjoyable and easier for both (Bandelow, 2004). Friends and acquaintances are few and most of them are people who have grown up with the individual such that they are able to understand their problem. Making new friends becomes an uphill task while moving to new areas, a new school or changing the workplace becomes even problematic. Fear of failing to be accepted in the new environment makes the problem worse as such an individual will be portrayed as one with a big ego while in real sense it is a psychological problem.
This gets worse especially where the organizational culture of the new place is biased such that everyone appears so busy and the new comer is left alone to discover for themselves their new environment. Therefore, it takes longer to make new friends as well as adapting to any new environment and the individual may end up feeling lonely in addition to being more anxious (Wells, 1998).Young men suffering from social anxiety disorder may take longer to approach and establish relationships with the young ladies due to fear of rejection. The humiliation and embarrassment associated with rejection makes the process even difficult for them as they will be paranoid that the entire cliché or class will be scrutinizing their moves. Consequently, the procedure may involve a lot of sweating, blushing such that at some point words end up being mixed up and the wrong message is relayed to the other party thus, increasing the embarrassment (Shaw, 2005).In most cases when a young man who has the social anxiety disorder is turned down by a particular girl, they may end up with increased fear of being rejected by subsequent girls hence they are more likely to remain single.
Sometimes the fear may adversely affect the self-esteem of the person such that they fail to seek for ways of coping with their condition and they end up being rather desperate. They then end up avoiding social places where the chances of meeting the same people are high thus limiting their social life (Shaw, 2005).During discussions with their friends, people with the social anxiety disorder can choose to be overly quite especially when there are strangers amongst them. This reduces the opportunities presented to them for widening up their circle of friends. Psychologists usually argue that by sharing problems that are affecting the day to day activities, individuals are able to reduce cases of undergoing through stressful circumstances in life. Therefore, individuals who are reluctant to share their feelings with others due to fear of being seen as a failure or as a being bad leads to episodes of depression as well as stressful situations which impair decision making processes among individuals suffering form social anxiety disorder (Shaw, 2005).
Effect on education of the individual
Learners suffering from social anxiety disorder are more likely to drop out of school as well as perform poorly in their academic work than their counterparts who are normal. This is often attributed to the fact that such learners never ask questions in class or in the individual discussion groups and they also do not seek clarifications on areas they find difficult. Lack of confidence to ask questions in class as well as fear of being humiliated by others who may have understood the concepts often leading to intense sweating and any courage which had been gathered is lost (Bandelow, 2004).These learners also fail considerably in class presentations especially when the teacher’s award marks for students who are confident during the presentation. Although the learner may be in possession of relevant material/information required for the presentation, their conduct which includes sweating, blushing, stammering and incoherence of their speech may interfere with the content. Many students often opt for no grades by feigning sickness on that day rather than suffer from the humiliation and embarrassment of failing in front of the others.
The same case applies during normal classes when the students suffering form social anxiety disorder fail to seek clarifications in class in areas which are quite difficult to comprehend such that they prefer failing in the exam to being embarrassed after asking a question in class(Bandelow, 2004).Students who have great potential of becoming leaders in future as well as those with special talents are inhibited from exploiting their full potential especially if they are suffering from social anxiety disorder. The fear of standing in front of the otter students in addition to making speeches is enough to make such students concentrate so much on how they are going to prevent any form of embarrassment from befalling them hence leaving no time to carry out their academic work (Bandelow, 2004). Similarly, such students may lack the motivation and encouragement needed to identify and explore their talent. Such a situation arises when an individual realizes that other students are only interested in their hobbies so as to provide a platform for criticizing them. Similar notions reduce the enthusiasm which is often associated with such interest and the demoralizing impact of humiliation reduces the confidence which was initially present (Wells, 1998).
The fear of being the best student and having to stand in front of the other students when being recognized may appears as something very intriguing to most people but not to those suffering from social anxiety disorder. This reduces the instances of being judged by others which calls for discussions and opening up to people who may present embarrassing situations (Bandelow, 2004).Students who are suffering from the social anxiety disorder are more likely to shy away from requesting for food from the school cafeteria in the presence of their friends such that they often give way to other to place orders for lunch before they make their requests. This makes them eat their meals after everyone else has had their share and it leaves little time for preparing for the next lesson. Similarly, the situation presented here leaves no time for the body of the student to adapt to the new development of being fed such that the process of digestion is delayed and it often stars during the course of the lesson.
Due to the intense energy being consumed during digestion, fatigue in the brain is experienced and the learner could fail to perceive ideas which the teacher could be presenting in the lesson (Bandelow, 2004). Students suffering from social anxiety disorders often fail to engage in co curricular activities in school which are also part of their academic life. Sports and clubs are important aspects of different schools as they help the learners to unwind during recess as well as providing an avenue for interactions among students who are in different classes. These activities help the students to prepare for subsequent classes as well as in reducing tension and fatigue associated with studying such that the student will be well prepared to learn more. Therefore, when that particular student does not get the chance to unwind, they lack the refreshed mind which possessed by the student who engaged in a round of basketball during leisure time and their performance will thus be greatly different (Wells, 1998).
Effect on drug and alcohol consumption
People suffering from social anxiety disorder are more likely to consume alcohol and abuse of other drugs as a way of making them feel more comfortable in addition to less anxious when faced with a social confrontation. These people argue that consumption of alcohol or intake of other stimulating drugs enables them to overcome the tension as well as the shyness that is usually characteristic of such individuals. Over time, this become routine and every time the person is faced with a situation where they are supposed to address others or to take up a challenging task they seek consolation from the bottle (Book and Randall, 2002).Students who are often faced with tensed situations where their personality may be injured by lack of confidence prefer taking some alcohol prior to the task such that this becomes part of their daily routine.
Habitual taking of drugs is especially common among young people who may be planning to engage in violent activities such as robbery without any fear of failing in addition to maintaining their image (Book, 2002).Occasionally, alcohol and substance abuse is used as a way of reducing the day-to-day stress associated with difficulty situations such as to reduce the humiliating impact caused by a failed attempt to raise issues at work. The substance when taken at that particular time relieves the stress and as it is seen as a relief, such an individual may continuously consume the same to reduce the stress. This leads to addiction which is otherwise called alcoholism and it has an even greater impact on the overall productivity of the person such that they end up performing badly at work hence a case of irresponsibility may arise (Book, 2002).
Effect of social anxiety disorder on suicide attempts
Low self-esteem caused by lack of a variety of relationships as well as by prolonged isolation of individuals suffering from social anxiety disorders may trigger the individual to attempt suicide. The prolonged periods of solitude in addition to feelings of insufficiency and self-hatred as a result of failure to initiate more relationships like other peers leads to self pity and thoughts of suicide become more eminent (Nepon, Belik, Bolton and Sareen, 2010).Sometimes after an embarrassing situation among friends the individual feels so bad about themselves such that the only solution they can find for their problems is committing suicide. The depression which often results from humiliation is a known cause of suicide attempts in individuals suffering from social anxiety disorders. It is sometimes accompanied with a feeling of insufficiency such that the individual thinks that they are incapable of nothing due to the situation which is presented by failure to initiate simple conversations as well as gaining their way into various social groups (Nepon, 2010).
The attempts to commit suicide may be as a result of ones appearance such that the individual especially if in adolescence will think that they are often humiliated due to their not pretty physical appearance which is not true. Occasionally, this happens when the young adults make it a habit to compare other peers who are not shy and afraid of challenges to themselves and the question about ones appearance in relation to confidence appears (Wells, 1998).Sometimes the individual may attempt to commit suicide as a way of attracting attention especially when they feel that they are often humiliated by their peers due to their conserved nature. The counter activity of committing suicide could also be a way of seeking revenge from those who reject the moves of the individual especially members of the opposite sex (Shaw, 2005).
Effects on the general psychological aspect of the individual
Individuals who are suffering from social anxiety disorders often experience a wide range of psychological problems which are brought about by the disorder. It causes unnecessary worry about many things which could pass as normal for other individuals. Fear of the unknown is especially common in such individuals even if there is no cause for worry (Wells, 1998).This uncalled for worries result into an individual being paranoid about very many minor events. Individuals who are paranoid tend to avoid opportunities which will present them in the limelight for fear of what others will say about them. Such situations minimize chances of individuals excelling in life as they fear being talked about as well as being the center of attraction for everybody. The shyness presented by individuals suffering from social anxiety disorder thus prohibits advancement in certain areas of life (Nepon, 2010).Social anxiety disorder causes intense panic to its victims such that even a simple task appears to be quite a challenge especially when the individual is sweating and shy. The panic makes the resulting work to be shoddy as well as making the person appear unprofessional (Shaw, 2005).
Social anxiety disorders are quite common in different individuals at different capacities where the disorder presents various characteristics and barriers to the normal activities of the affected individuals. The problems associated with the disorder range from simple blushing to complex sweating when faced with the opportunity of addressing a social gathering.Sometimes the disorder poses serious problems to the career as well as the foundations laid at school regarding future roles and responsibilities in various professions. The disorder has cost many people loss of opportunities to discovering their talents as well as inhibiting full exploitation of their energy reserves.The normal routine of life in individual suffering from social anxiety disorder is totally different from that led by other people as the later is full of so many barriers and hindrances.
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Book, S.W. and Randall, C.L. (2002), Social anxiety disorders and alcohol use. National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism
Nepon,S. , Belik, S. Bolton, J. and Sareen, J. (2010), the relationship between anxiety disorders and suicide attempts: findings from the National Epidemiologic survey on Alcohol. University of Manitoba
Shaw, G. (2005), Is social anxiety disorder just another name for being really shy. Retrieved on May 27, 2010 from: www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view-doc.php?
Wells, A. and Papageorgious, C. (1998), Social phobia: effects of external attention on anxiety, negative beliefs and perspective taking. Journal of Behavior Therapy. Vol.29, iss.3, pp. 357-370.
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