Social anxiety disorder: It can affect anyone

Could you suffer from social anxiety disorderSocial anxiety disorders can happen to anyone – the young, the rich, the healthy and even the famous. In fact, it affects more than 15 million American adults.

So what is it? According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), social anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive self-consciousness and the overwhelming fear of being scrutinized. It’s important to note that this is not simply shyness; the anxiety associated with this disorder is so extreme that it often interferes with daily tasks, job performance and even romantic and social relationships. Additionally, those who suffer from this disorder tend to feel powerless against their anxiety and are in constant fear that they will humiliate themselves in any situation.

Social anxiety is just one of many types of anxiety disorders that individuals can suffer from. Others include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While anxiety disorders in general are extremely common and affect more than 40 million American adults, there are still unfair stigmas attached to them today.

In an attempt to demystify these stereotypes, Huffington Post recently published an article on “11 Public Figures Who Will Make You Rethink What You Know About Anxiety Disorders.” The celebrities, thought leaders and even past presidents who made the list include John Mayer, Emma Stone, Whoopi Goldberg and Abraham Lincoln – people who seem so cool and collected under pressure.

Because of the stigma often attached to anxiety, many people who suffer from this disorder are never diagnosed or treated. But as more individuals and celebrities begin to talk about their anxiety disorder, it can help remove any unfair labels and encourage those suffering to seek treatment. Consult your doctor if you believe you experience symptoms related to anxiety disorder and remember: This disorder doesn’t have to define you.



Photo credit: Ian

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