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Common Types Of Social Anxiety

Nov 25, 2007
There are three common types of social anxiety experienced by patients. These include generalized social phobia, specific social phobia and avoidance personality disorder.

Generalized social phobia is the most prevalent social anxiety type. If you are diagnosed with this type you will find that you fear becoming the focal point of other people's attention, anywhere you have the need to interact with other people, especially those you don't know. This will be intensified by an unreasonable concern with if people are noticing you and if they are taking note of everything you may be doing.

With generalized social phobics, what may seem like the easiest tasks for everyone else, like going shopping or eating out a restaurant, may be an extremely distressful and anxious experience. When going to enjoy a swim at your local pool or beach, you may feel overly embarrassed about public dressing rooms and the act of removing some of your clothing in public. In other situations, simple things like confronting your employer or approaching other important authorities may seem like a very fearful situation, one that you may even choose to ponder over for many hours, instead of just simply getting up and doing it. Even the pleasure of parties seems like a doomed and possibly humiliating undertaking.

Specific social phobia or specific social anxiety is specifically related to entering into socialization situations. This may include meeting people (new), eating in the presence of others, or simply using a public toilet. In fact, the most common of all these are an unreasonable fear of speaking in public, which in itself relates to an anxiety about performance. To most people this would simply be called stage fright, but for some the experience is much more intense and in some cases very traumatic.

Avoidance personality disorder is considered by most doctors and mental health practitioners to be the most extreme of all the social anxiety types. This disorder is defined by a long term affliction with an unreasonable level of shyness that gets so bad that the person experiencing it may well use isolation to avoid it happening at all. This can also be experienced in other forms. You may have extreme trouble with rejection or loss, which may be so painfully distressing that you have chosen to live alone and avoid contact with other people. However, it is important to note that there is a difference between someone who has a style of avoidance versus this specific disorder.

A person with avoidance personality disorder will almost always do some or all of the following:

Over exaggerate any possible physical dangers, risks or difficulties that may occur in doing the most normal tasks.

Have only one or no close confidants or friends outside of their immediate relatives and they may well avoid all other social activities outside of these people.

Show an unwillingness to interact with new people unless they can assure themselves or be assured that they will not meet disapproval, be hurt or criticized, and/or be definitely liked.

Have an intense and unusual fear of being embarrassed in front of others to the point of noticeable anxiety, crying or blushing.

Avoid public speaking for fear of speaking out of turn, or being seen to have said something foolish or possibly inappropriate.

Find that concentrating on individual tasks, hobbies or jobs are very difficult and may not achieve their potential in life.

There are three types of social anxiety that define a patient's affliction with this disorder. Sadly, most people will fall into the category of the generalized social phobic. However, there are those whose affliction is so severe that their ability to function in daily life is not just fractionally compromised, but detremented to the point that the person cannot go outside their home without specific assurances that they will not be hurt or otherwise embarrassed by social interactions, isolating themselves almost completely from other people or simply just sticking to their immediate family or the one person they trust above all else. If you find that one of these types describes what you are experiencing then you need to speak to your family doctor, who can refer you to someone who can specifically help diagnose your condition, treat it and help you move forward into a happier, social anxiety free existence. In the end you deserve to enjoy a happy and distress free life just like everyone else.
About the Author
Gary Miller was so scared that he actually passed out during a presentation and couldn't talk after due to numerous social
anxieties. To learn more about his journey to recovery and weekly FREE Social Anxiety coping techniques, you can visit his web site at: http://www.Social-Anxiety-Cure.com
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