Those who suffer from social anxiety disorder feel more than just shy. Social anxiety disorder occurs when someone feels embarrassment, shame or humiliation because they fear that others are noticing them in social situations and judging them. Sometimes simply being noticed can result in anxiety attacks. Children, teens and adults may blush easily, tremble, have panic attacks or cry when in social situations that make them uncomfortable. Social anxiety disorder can affect just a few situations such as fear of public speaking or fear of using the public restroom (called paruresis). Social anxiety disorder can also affect almost all social situations, making it painful for someone to interact with all but their closest friend and immediate family. Social anxiety disorder can result in avoidance that makes attending classes, shopping, dating, job hunting or greeting others at work seem like insurmountable tasks.
Social anxiety disorder in children can also result in selective mutism. Selective mutism occurs when a child or adult has the ability to speak well, but is unable to talk in a normal speaking voice in situations outside their comfort zone. Children and adults with selective mutism may whisper or be unable to talk with more than a few people due to extreme anxiety
The Anxiety Treatment Center of Greater Chicago staff enjoy helping patients build social confidence and real life skills that lead to confidence and social success. Cognitive behavioral therapy often combined with medication, is the best treatment to alleviate social anxiety disorder. Cognitive therapy helps challenge the misperceived expectations from others. Exposure therapy helps patients master and enjoy the social world. Assertion training helps patients learn how to handle life’s inevitable awkward moments without having to dread them. When needed, social skills training in conversation, job interviews, public speaking, dating and conflict management helps patients to feel well prepared to manage life.
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