Shifting Your Focus: Social Anxiety Disorder

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Social anxiety is a mental health condition that is characterized by an overwhelming sense of anxiety in social situations. People who are socially anxious (or “socially phobic”) are plagued by excessive stress and insecurity around other people.

Social phobics worry that when they interact with other people, whether in a formal or an informal setting, they will be negatively perceived. Social phobics tend to think others see them as inadequate or unlikable.
People with social anxiety can appear calm while inwardly experiencing a significant amount of stress. They may have recurring, negative thoughts about what other people think of them. For example, when they are at the store they may think the other customers are judging them or everyone is staring at them.

In an article from PsychCentral, the idea that self-absorption can lead to social anxiety is discussed. The writer describes how socially anxious people need to learn to focus on things other than themselves in order to feel less distressed around others. By absorbing themselves in the details around them, socially anxious people can lower their anxiety and worry less about what people think of them.

Press the link below to visit PsychCentral and read the full article on socially anxious people.

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/anxiety/2012/05/through-the-looking-glass-social-anxiety-and-self-absorption/

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

mikedavis February 14, 2013 at 10:44 pm

I believe that it’s possible that some social anxiety disorders could be the result of people who are self-absorbed, but I think it’s far more likely attributable to the keen emphasis that society is placing on appearance and perfection. The ever-present media bombards us with constant messages that erode self-esteem like butter melting away.

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Rich Presta February 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Great point and I think that probably has a lot to do with it too.

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mikedavis February 14, 2013 at 10:46 pm

I believe the rise in social anxiety disorders is attributable to the constant media bombardment that is present. Message after message that implies you must fix something – be it losing weight, getting rid of gray, looking younger, etc. It erodes the self-esteem.

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Rich Presta February 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Certainly a logical factor, agreed.

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ShakeNoMore February 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm

This is so true. When you are constantly told (either directly or through implication) that something about you is wrong, it’s hard to keep your esteem up. That said, I do agree that focusing on something besides yourself can help ease social anxiety, at least a little. It’s not a panacea, though.

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Rich Presta February 17, 2013 at 10:27 pm

I couldn’t agree more!

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AnxietyRUs February 17, 2013 at 2:25 am

I have dealt with this for some time now. It causes me to avoid going out into public and avoid seeing people I know. It’s particularly hard to see someone who wants to talk. It’s no something I would ever wish upon anyone.

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Rich Presta February 17, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Maybe you should consider your options for treatment so you can enjoy social events again, it’s a shame to go through life with anxiety like that.

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Sabrina February 23, 2013 at 2:12 am

I don’t really care for this theory. Isn’t it rather like telling people it’s all their fault? This just doesn’t seem right to me at all. We know that the brain plays a role and there have been indications of anxiety disorders being associated with various cross-wiring (so-to-speak) in the brain.

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Rich Presta February 24, 2013 at 12:59 am

I haven’t seen any research that confirms any sort of “cross-wiring” or even that a chemical imbalance is at the root of anxiety, even though it’s a common theory. I don’t think it’s really saying the research is saying anyone is “at fault” in a negative sense, but that it is ultimately under their control. That should be good news since it means there’s something that can be done about it!

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