Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, is a mental health condition where a person feels nervous or afraid during everyday social interactions. It is a debilitating and intense condition due to the way it makes a person avoid social situations.
Fortunately, there is hope for relief in even the most extreme instances of social anxiety disorder thanks to traditional treatments and innovative new therapies alike.
WHAT IS SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER?
Are you particularly fearful of being evaluated by others? Are you extremely self-conscious in normal social situations? Do you try not to meet new people? “If you have been feeling this way for at least six months and these feelings make it hard for you to do everyday tasks—such as talking to people at work or school — you may have a social anxiety disorder.”
Thankfully, symptoms of social anxiety can be treated with ketamine infusions.
SYMPTOMS OF SOCIAL ANXIETY
- Emotional and behavioral like fear of situations where you’ll be judged, concern with humiliating or embarrassing yourself, fear of talking with strangers, and nervousness that someone will notice your anxiety.
- Physical cues like blushing, trembling, sweating, fast heartbeat, nausea, problems catching your breath, dizziness, a blank mind, or muscle tension.
- Circumvention of intermingling with new co-workers or others, going to social events or parties, going to work or school, starting conversations, public restrooms, or making eye contact.
RISKS OF SOCIAL ANXIETY
- Genetic influences. You are more likely to get social anxiety if your biological parents or siblings have it.
- Bad experiences can be related: bullying, teasing, rejection, humiliation, family conflict, trauma, abuse.
- People who are shy, timid, withdrawn, or reserved.
- Social anxiety symptoms normally begin in the teen years but uncomfortable situations in adulthood may prompt first-time symptoms.
- Problems with a facial deformity, speech, or shakes due to Parkinson’s disease might cause social anxiety in certain people.
CAUSES OF SOCIAL ANXIETY
Researchers think social anxiety may be genetic; people with the illness often say that it’s prevalent in their families. Environmental triggers, such as social stressors and childhood bullying, or parents who also experience anxiety and/or display avoidant behaviors, may also contribute to its rise.
You can’t “outgrow” social anxiety or break out of it; you’ll probably need therapy, a treatment like ketamine infusions, or a combination of both to soothe your symptoms and instill the confidence you can control them. Some researchers note that 15 to 20 years typically lapses, on average, between the start of social anxiety disorder and getting help.
HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER?
- Social phobia is the 4th most common mental health condition.
- About 12.1 percent of people have suffered from social anxiety during their lives, something called “lifetime prevalence.”
- In any year, about seven out of 100 (or nearly 15 million) people suffer from social anxiety disorder (this is called 12-month prevalence).
CAN YOU HAVE ANOTHER DISORDER ALONG WITH SOCIAL ANXIETY?
Yes. “The term ‘comorbidity’ describes two or more disorders or illnesses occurring in the same person. They can occur at the same time or one after the other. Comorbidity also implies interactions between the illnesses that can worsen the course of both.”
There are several disorders which can happen at the same time as social anxiety disorder, among them:
- If you have an avoidant personality disorder (APD), you will experience many of the same symptoms as someone with SAD but they’ll be broader and more severe.
- Panic disorder differs from SAD in terms of the triggers of panic, the kind of symptoms that are experienced, and beliefs about the underlying causes.
- Generalized anxiety disorder.
- Eating disorders.
- The medical and scientific community has discovered the anesthetic ketamine can be used “off-label” to treat symptoms of several kinds of mental disorders and chronic pain through infusion therapy.
DIAGNOSIS OF SOCIAL ANXIETY
A medical exam to review your overall physical health and determine if there’s an underlying illness or injury causing symptoms of social anxiety.
A mental health evaluation to talk about your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and prevalence of mental illness in you or family members who are blood-related.
TREATMENT FOR SOCIAL ANXIETY
After both exams, your symptoms are compared to criteria in the DSM-5 for diagnosis, then you and your doctor can talk about treatment options. A probable path is a combination of psychotherapy and treatments, including ketamine infusions. Ketamine may work to repair or strengthen damaged neurotransmitters in the brain which are key to how we perceive and react to pain. The compound is used “off-label” and can be used to treat mental illness and chronic pain.
If you think you’re suffering from social anxiety, don’t wait until the symptoms are beyond control and have ruined your life. Recognize the symptoms and their triggers and get help. If you or a loved one have questions about the clinical use of ketamine to treat the symptoms of anxiety we can help you. Contact us today to learn more.