Is Social Anxiety real? Or is it just shyness?Amber SpringerLyn BlaylockHolmes Community CollegeComp IIItalicized = finishedAmber SpringerComp II January 23, 2018Social anxiety: Is it real? Or is it simply shyness? Though social anxiety shares a few symptoms, it is vastly different from shyness as most symptoms are far more intense for social anxiety. For many years, this disorder has been dismissed as normal human shyness, but recently, more people are recognizing it as a real disorder with identifiable symptoms and specific medical treatments.So what is anxiety? Anxiety is defined as a feeling of uneasiness. Everybody experiences this at points in their life, but people who have social anxiety live with it every day. They have intense and often times constant feelings of uneasiness, rather than simply being anxious. (not finished)How is social anxiety different from shyness? Being shy is defined as being reserved in the company of other people. While shy people will eventually become comfortable in a triggering situation, people with social anxiety will not. (2) (not finished)The symptoms of social anxiety are sometimes debilitating and paralyzing to the point where some people can not function in their daily lives (2) However, most of them are easy hurdles to jump over. For example, a few physical symptoms are a racing heart, blushing, trembling, sweating, and nausea. These symptoms are quite easy to deal with, as most are comparable to the symptoms of shyness, but they can lead to bigger problems. The Harvard Mental Health Letter states that when people fear that others may notice these symptoms, it may hinder their performance. As a result, this causes embarrassment and justifies avoiding the situation. (3) On the other hand, the mental and behavioral symptoms are far worse. They are persistent and can seemingly come from nowhere. Suicidal thoughts, along with depression, may creep into their minds for no apparent reason, and some may even become addicted to drugs and alcohol just to feel calm and stop worrying. Some people with this disorder may even act out in a way that may frighten others. (10) These frightening symptoms and behaviors can be stopped. Believe it or not, there is an upside to this disorder. It is treatable. The options are therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Therapy tends to be the more effective option because it not only treats the symptoms, but underlying causes as well. (19)There are two main types of therapy: cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is the most common therapy for anxiety disorders. This type of therapy helps with their negative connotations of themselves and the world. CBT involves two main elements: cognitive therapy and behavior therapy. The cognitive part of CBT assists people in getting rid of these cognitions, or negative thoughts, while the behavior therapy helps people behave and react normally in triggering situations. In CBT, therapists use a process called cognitive restructuring. This process challenges the pessimistic thoughts by replacing them with positive thoughts. How do they do this? They begin with identifying the negative thoughts. Situations are comprehended differently by people with social anxiety. They perceive the situation as more life-threatening than they really are. The next step is to challenge the negative thoughts. This involves evaluating these thoughts and questioning the probability of such thoughts actually becoming reality. The third and final step in the process is to replace these thoughts with realistic and positive thoughts. These are things people can say to themselves when faced with an anxiety-inducing situation.(19) Exposure therapy is a bit different. This type of therapy, as the name suggests, exposes people to the said situations. It can be used alone or partnered with CBT and other types of therapy, depending on the severity of the case. When this therapy begins, they will not expose them to their greatest fear right away. That could be quite overwhelming and traumatizing. Therapists use what is called systematic desensitization which “allows you to gradually challenge your fears, build confidence, and master skills for controlling panic.” Over time, these people will become more in control of these situations after repeated exposure. (19) The other treatment for this disorder is medication. Although effective, medication has its safety concerns. Most side effects are easy to deal with such as nausea and drowsiness, but the worst effects are when people become dependent on said medications and the withdrawal that can result in rebounding anxiety that may be worse than what it once was. (20) There are many different types of medications that are used for treatments. The most commonly prescribed medication are benzodiazepines, also known as tranquilizers. They slow down the nervous system to help the person relax both mentally and physically. This medication is only used for short-term treatment since they can be addictive. They can also lead to treatment-resistant depression which can cause emotional blunting or numbness and cause the person to have suicidal thoughts and feelings. Benzodiazepines can also have paradoxical effects, which means it has the opposite reaction of what it expected. These effects include increased anxiety, mania, hallucinations, rage, and impulsive behavior.(20) Most people wouldn’t want to risk these side effects, so there are other medication options.Another type of medication is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI for short. This type is also a treatment for depression. SSRIs are still at risk of addiction, but it is lower than that of benzodiazepines. Unfortunately, these medications take longer to begin relieving anxiety, usually taking up to 4 to 6 weeks. This type is limited to chronic problems that require ongoing treatment. (20) (not finished)(Daily tasks to help with social anxiety)There are two types of social anxiety disorder: specific social anxiety and generalized social anxiety. Specific social anxiety, also called performance anxiety, only occurs in a few situations, but generalized social anxiety arises in everyday life and has quite the effect on it. (3) For some, their anxiety is so overwhelming and intense that they may not even leave their house in fear of being judged. (2) (not finished) (CONCLUSION) Social anxiety is a very real disorder.