Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is an anxiety disorder where it prevents the individual from participating in social events in everyday personal or work life. Many people feel nervous in some social situations, e.g. making a presentation, meeting new people, interview, however, most individuals learn to manage this level of anxiety and develop ways of minimizing the physical symptoms.
Social Anxiety Disorder, however, involves discomfort around social interactions and concerns about being embarrassed and judged by others. The discomfort is experienced as fear and anxiety and is accompanied by autonomic arousal, including excessive sweating, a pounding rapid heartbeat, nausea, shaking, blushing and stammering. It can range in severity from being able to circumvent and adapt to it, to essentially it being a disabling fear intruding into multiple areas of one’s life as these symptoms reinforce feelings of embarrassment and fear.
Although individuals with social phobia desire social contacts and want to participate socially, their anxiety can become unbearable and can lead to isolation, absence of development or stagnation of social skills, and can intensify existing social anxiety.
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