What Is SAD?Simply put: SAD is fear of social settings that involve interacting with other people. It hinges on thoughts of fear and anxiety over being judged and evaluated negatively by other people. The fear and anxiety associated with SAD does not cease immediately and is usually accompanied by physical symptoms (such as increased heart rate). As a result, people with SAD have constant feelings of fear and anxiety in a wide variety of social activities common in everyday normal social interactions. Social anxiety disorder is the third most prevalent psychological disorder in the U.S. and is not limited to any particular group of people. Millions of adults in America are diagnosed with SAD… but millions more stay quiet and suffer alone, falsely believing that there is no hope. Moreover, SAD is oftentimes misdiagnosed:
People with social anxiety are misdiagnosed almost 90% of the time… Social anxiety disorder [has] been mislabeled “schizophrenic,” “manic-depressive,” “clinically depressed,” “panic disordered,” and “personality disordered,” among other misdiagnoses.
Understanding SADOne of the best ways to understand SAD is based upon people’s responses to the following list of activities. However, it must be noted that the list below is not complete, and SAD can manifest itself in a wide variety of social interactions:
- Going out in public or using public restrooms
- Going to school or work
- Talking with strangers
- Eating in front of others
- Speaking in public
- Meeting new people
- Group discussions
- Speaking up in class
Physical And Other Symptoms Associated with SADPhysical symptoms associated with SAD vary from person to person and vary in intensity. Generally speaking, symptoms occur prior to the events listed above and may last throughout the event and even for weeks afterward:
- Increased or rapid heartbeat
- Muscle tension
- Dizziness and/or lightheadedness
- Stomach pains and/or diarrhea
- Feeling out of breath
- “Out-of-body” sensation
SAD Is A Treatable Anxiety DisorderPeople with SAD often do not seek help or treatment because of feelings of embarrassment, shame, guilt and helplessness. They may also believe that there is no cure for their “unusual” behavior. But they are wrong. SAD is one of the most treatable anxiety disorders. Doctors can use either psychotherapy or medication to help alleviate the symptoms associated with SAD. In many cases, the first step is talking to a professional about what’s happening and seeking a course of treatment. It is possible to live life comfortably, while managing—and eventually overcoming—the fear of social interactions.
How We Can Help You?
Best Day Psychiatry and Counseling is here to help you have a better day and find a better way. We treat a wide range of psychiatric conditions for both children and adults. Contact us today, we’re ready to help: