Facts about Social Anxiety

Published on December 30th, 2014

It is difficult for some people to understand, but social anxiety is a major health problem that affects many people throughout the world.

Here are some statistics shared by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA):

  • Approximately 15 million American adults suffer from social anxiety disorder
  • 36 percent of people with this problem have symptoms for 10 years or longer before seeking medical assistance
  • The typical age of onset is 13 years old

Anxiety and Addiction

These statistics alone show just how serious social anxiety has become. Not only can this keep people away from social situations, but it can lead them to trouble, such as an addiction to alcohol. In some cases, a person realizes the only way they can communicate in a social setting is if they are drinking. For this reason, they continue to turn to alcohol, time and time again. Before they know it, this has developed into another problem in the form of an addiction.

Here are some additional facts from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America regarding all types of anxiety:

  • Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in the United States.
  • All types of anxiety disorders are treatable, however, only roughly 33 percent seek professional treatment.
  • In the United States alone, anxiety disorders cost the country more than $40 billion per year.
  • Anxiety disorders develop from a variety of risk factors, including but not limited to brain chemistry, genetics, life events, and personality.

Note: many people who suffer from an anxiety disorder also have issues with depression.

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Now that you have a better understanding of the facts associated with anxiety as a whole, let’s take a closer look at the finer details associated with social anxiety disorder.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines social anxiety disorder as follows:

“Social phobia is a strong fear of being judged by others and of being embarrassed. This fear can be so strong that it gets in the way of going to work or school or doing other everyday things.”

Along with the above, here are some additional stats associated with social anxiety:

  • This disorder is equally common among women and men.
  • There are many symptoms that can trigger social anxiety, such as: being introduced to new people, being the center of attention, having to speak in public, and being watched while doing something.

Treatment for Social Anxiety

Even though social anxiety disorder is a big problem for those dealing with it, there are treatment options available to help control the situation and hopefully put it in the past:

  • Cognitive behavior therapy is a type of psychotherapy that has been proven effective in treating social anxiety. It teaches a person how to think and behave differently, allowing them to feel less anxious in social situations.
  • Some doctors believe in prescribing medication to help treat social anxiety disorder. Most commonly, these include antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors have been proven especially effective in treating this medical condition.

It is hard for some people to believe that social anxiety disorder is such a major problem, but these facts and stats should help you understand how serious it has become in the United States.





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