Download PDF Coping with Shyness and Social Phobia: A Guide to Understanding and Overcoming Social Anxiety

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This book offers information on a range of treatments that are available, including cognitive behavioral therapy and medication, and gives an objective appraisal of their effectiveness and limitations. Buy from Amazon UK. Buy from Waterstones. Buy from Amazon US.

The Book Shyness and social phobia will affect one in twenty people and can prevent those suffering from leading their lives to the full. In this supportive and informative guide, psychologists Crozier and Alden explore the reason and meaning behind social anxiety and consider the various treatments on offer; including medication and cognitive-behavioural therapy.

Supported by case studies and the latest in psychological research and practice, the authors distinguish between shyness and the debilitating effects of social phobia in refreshingly relatable terms. Presenting up-to-date information on the methods people are using to overcome their difficulties and giving an objective appraisal of their effectiveness and limitations, this book is an invaluable resource for those trying to understand their own anxieties or the anxieties of others.

About the Author W. Alden is Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia and a registered psychologist. Treatment and Evaluation: An Overview. Anxiety Treatment Program: By Diagnosis. Definitions and Useful Links. ATRC Bookstore. For Staff Only. Your Health Care - Be Involved. What is Social Anxiety Disorder? Examples are listed in the next section. The individual experiences feelings of anxiety, fear, or panic immediately upon encountering the feared social situation.

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The fear is out of proportion to the actual risk in the situation. For example, the fear may make it difficult for the person to perform important tasks at work, meet new friends, attend classes, or interact with others. The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is persistent usually lasting as least 6 months. It must be established that the anxiety symptoms are not being caused by a medical condition e. In addition, if the individual has a medical condition with visible symptoms e.

Examples of Feared Performance Situations in Social Anxiety Disorder: Public speaking Talking in meetings or classes Participating in sports or working out in front of others Performing music or acting on stage Writing in front of others Eating or drinking in front of others Using public restrooms when other people are nearby Making mistakes in front of others Being in public areas such as a shopping mall or a bus Examples of Feared Social Interaction Situations in Social Anxiety Disorder: Going to a party Initiating or maintaining conversation Talking to strangers Inviting friends over for dinner Talking on the phone Expressing personal opinions Being assertive e.

The few studies that have examined social anxiety disorder using positron emission tomography PET or functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI neuroimaging techniques have generally found that people with social anxiety disorder show increased activity in the amygdala i. However other studies have found conflicting results. For example, other studies have found that people with social anxiety disorder generally show increased right brain activity in response to a threatening social event.

It is unclear however how to exactly interpret these different findings, and more research is needed to definitively understand how brain activity is related to social anxiety disorder. Neurotransmitters — Studies examining the relationship between social anxiety disorder and neurotransmitters i. The two neurotransmitters that appear to be most likely involved in the development and maintenance of social anxiety disorder are dopamine and serotonin. For example, studies have found that people who are very sociable tend to have increased levels of dopamine, and drugs that act on levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain generally help to improve and reduce the symptoms of social anxiety disorder.

When Young People Suffer Social Anxiety Disorder: What Parents Can Do

It should be stressed, however, that although some studies suggest involvement of dopamine and serotonin, other studies have not supported the idea that these two neurotransmitters are related to social anxiety disorder. On the one hand, some studies have found that the generalized form of social anxiety disorder i. Furthermore, some studies have found that the pattern of social anxiety disorder across identical and fraternal twins suggests a role for genetics in the transmission of social anxiety disorder across family members.

However, other twin studies have found that individual environmental experiences play a larger role in the development of social anxiety disorder than a shared genetic history.


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Interestingly, some studies examining personality traits that are related to social anxiety, specifically neuroticism e. Although there is some evidence that genetic factors are involved in the development of social anxiety disorder, environmental influences cannot be discounted. For example, a history of negative experiences in social situations e. In addition, an individual who is exposed to others with extreme social anxiety e.

The messages children receive from parents, teachers, friends, and the media e. Of course negative social experiences alone are not enough to cause social anxiety disorder, and only a small percentage of people who have such experiences go on to develop the problem. Attention and Memory — Generally people with social anxiety disorder tend to pay more attention to, and remember more accurately, socially threatening information than people without social anxiety.

Your Brain on Social Anxiety Disorder

For example, people with social anxiety disorder appear to be particularly good at remembering faces, especially negative or critical faces, compared to people without social anxiety disorder. Although the data demonstrating a tendency to pay closer attention to socially threatening information in social anxiety disorder are fairly well established, studies on memory biases in social anxiety disorder have been somewhat less consistent in their findings. Beliefs and Interpretations about Social Situations — People with social anxiety disorder tend to hold beliefs and interpret social events in such a way as to maintain or increase their anxiety.

For example, people with social anxiety disorder are especially worried about others reactions to their behavior and to noticing their symptoms of anxiety e.

Social Anxiety: What Is It?

Furthermore, they also tend to make more negative evaluations of their performance in social situations compared to people who are not socially anxious. Finally, compared to individuals without social anxiety disorder, people with social anxiety disorder tend to interpret neutral facial expressions negatively, and expect that negative consequences of social events will be more likely and more costly.


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In addition, certain anxious behaviors e. Effective Treatments for Social Anxiety Disorder Biological Treatments There are a number of medications that have proven useful for treating social anxiety disorder. Psychological Treatments Currently, the best established form of psychotherapy for social anxiety disorder is cognitive-behavioral therapy CBT , although other forms of treatment e. For example, if an individual is afraid of writing in front of others because of possibly being judged for having shaky hands, he or she might be encouraged to examine realistically the likelihood that others will in fact notice the shaky hands and the likelihood that if others do notice, they will think terrible things about the individual.

The person might also be encouraged to create a little experiment to test out the validity of the beliefs.

Coping with Shyness and Social Phobias

For example, the person might try writing in front of others, while purposely having his or her hands shake, just to see what happens. Exposure to Feared Situations — this technique, also called in vivo exposure , involves confronting a feared situation repeatedly, until the situation no longer triggers fear. For example, someone who identifies talking to people of authority as a fearful situation might purposefully go to a professor and ask questions about homework, or go to a pharmacist and ask questions about medication he or she is taking. Exposure works best when it occurs frequently e.

Exposure Role Plays — Role plays are similar to the exposure practices described above, except that they are simulated practices instead of practicing the real thing. For example, someone who is anxious about going to a job interview might practice a simulated interview with a friend, family member, or therapist.

When Young People Suffer Social Anxiety Disorder: What Parents Can Do

When the role play practices become easier, the individual may then move on to practice exposure in the real situation. Social Skills Training: After avoiding certain social situations for an extended time, it is not surprising that some people with social anxiety disorder might develop some bad habits in social situations, including making poor eye contact, and engaging in other anxious behaviors. They may also find it difficult to think of what to say during a conversation or date.

Or, they may lack certain basic public speaking skills. If this is the case, CBT may include social skills training as a component. Examples include teaching an individual how to make the best impression during a job interview, how to be more assertive, and how to use nonverbal communication e.

Combined Treatments Generally medications and CBT work about equally well in the short term, although some people may respond better to one approach or the other. Did you know? The typical age of onset for social anxiety disorder appears to be mid- to late- teens and is slightly more common in women than men. Estimates of the prevalence of social anxiety disorder vary widely across studies.

Antony, M. The shyness and social anxiety workbook: Proven, step-by-step techniques for overcoming your fear. Butler, G. Overcoming social anxiety and shyness: A self-help guide using cognitive behavioral techniques. London, UK: Robinson. Carducci, B. Shyness: A bold new approach. Desberg, P.

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No more butterflies: Overcoming shyness, stage fright, interview anxiety, and fear of public speaking.