Andrea Papandreou 115 Glyfada 16675
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Social Anxiety Disorder (also known as Social Phobia) is a highly prevalent anxiety disorder. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by marked or intense fear of social or performance-based situations where scrutiny or evaluation by others may occur. Feared situations often include:
Physical and motor symptoms associated with the disorder include blushing, trembling, sweating, and speech block, as well as many individuals with social anxiety fear that these symptoms might be observable to others. As a result, exposure to feared situations is typically accompanied by anxious anticipation, distress, and avoidance.
Social Anxiety Disorder affects a significant proportion of the general community, with a lifetime prevalence of approximately 8–13%. The disorder typically develops in childhood or adolescence, with a mean age of onset between 14 and 16 years. The development of social anxiety is influenced by a host of factors, including:
Social Anxiety Disorder impedes normal social development and is associated with significant functional impairment. Specifically, individuals with social anxiety typically avoid social, educational, and occupational situations that are perceived as threatening. This avoidance can severely hamper educational achievement, occupational performance, social interaction, relationships, and quality of life. Not surprisingly, social anxiety is associated with low self-esteem, suicidal ideation, lower education and socioeconomic status, unemployment, financial dependency, and being single.
In addition, it is often observed that people suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder either ignore their condition or avoid dealing with it, attributing it to personality traits such as “shyness”. It needs to be pointed out that shyness is a personality trait that makes the individual feel bashfulness when he/she is in the middle of a crowded place. However, shyness and social anxiety are differentiated as follows:
Both medication and psychotherapy are recommended for the treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder. In particular, patients with Social Anxiety Disorder often take medication such as antidepressants and anxiolytics. At the same time, psychotherapy is recommended to reduce their symptoms and in particular, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is considered as quite effective.
Matilda Manaroli Clinical Psychologist, MSc
Development of Treatment Plan