What Parents Need to Know about Social Anxiety
Understanding the Truth about Social Anxiety Disorder, Including Misconceptions
There is a common misconception that social anxiety disorder (SAD) is the same with shyness, but SAD and shyness are totally two different things. Shyness is a personality trait, while social anxiety is a mental disorder. Understanding your kid’s place will help you identify how to help him/her cope up with the challenges as he/she grows up to become an adult.
As parents, you need to understand that people living with SAD fear being judged by others. It is hard for them to initiate conversations, and it gets even harder for them to attend social events.
- Self-consciousness when talking to someone
- Worrying about an upcoming social event for days or weeks
- Escaping social situations that require social interaction
- Has a hard time making and keeping friends
- May appear rude to some people for keeping conversation to a minimum
- May experience panic attacks that involves blushing, sweating, nausea, and shaking
Individuals with social anxiety disorder are not much of a talker and feel nervous when confronted with questions, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t want friends! This and several more misconceptions about SAD are debunked below:
SAD is just an excuse for being stuck up.
Since people with SAD barely initiate and maintain conversations, they are sometimes regarded as stuck up or snobbish. They find it difficult to relax around people because they are scared that they might say something stupid or weird. Some have it worse than others though. There are instances when a person finds it hard to eat in public, use the communal restroom, or even order a take away.
SAD is rare.
No, it’s not. Social anxiety is a common problem, especially among young children and teenagers. In fact there is an estimated 3 percent of the US population who experience SAD at some point in their lives. Social anxiety disorder is also more common to women than in men. Monitor your child’s or teenager’s behavior and directly address the concern regarding social anxiety.
SAD is essentially a fear of public speaking, that’s just it.
A person with SAD will get anxious with the idea of speaking in front of a lot of people, but it doesn’t stop there. It is a type of anxiety that applies in many different social situations, may it be formal or informal. This includes gatherings, meeting strangers, expressing disagreement, participating in the classroom, or walking in front of other people.
People with SAD just need to take their meds.
Sure, some people turn to medications and pills to treat and keep anxiety attacks at bay. But just like any other behavioral disorders, an individual needs to go through a professional counseling despite already taking medicines.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been proven to help people with SAD. It is a combination of techniques that involves relaxation exercises, thoughts logs, and mindfulness.
You can control anxiety.
Social anxiety is not something you can just snap out from. SAD sends hundreds of thoughts on a person’s mind, making one feel as if all eyes are on them, watching their every move and silently judging them. At times, anxiety may affect an individual’s academic life, professional life, intimate relationships, and day-to-day activities.