Social Anxiety Disorder

January 09, 2019

SAD or Social Media Disorder is a mental health condition in which social interactions cause irrational anxiety. Read this blog to understand signs and symptoms of Social Media Disorder

Swapna, a 23-year-old software programmer who recently moved to Hyderabad, found that she often feels distressed and gets anxious in social situations and has a fear of being judged by others. This fear, anxiety, self-consciousness, and embarrassment experienced during daily interactions is called social anxiety disorder (SAD) or social phobia. Individuals with SAD usually avoid social interactions or performance situations; thus, Swapna is at risk of developing depression.

Are you one as per the stats?

Globally, around 300 million people suffer from depression at least once in their lifetime. According to a report by the World Health Organization, India is one of the most depressed countries in the world. Nearly 6.5% of the population is affected by some form of mental disorder, of which, only a few percent of people seek therapy. Around 9% of people have admitted experiencing extended duration of depression, and approximately 36% had major depressive episodes. The prevalence of several anxiety disorders ranges from 4 to 20% among the Indian population.

Why SAD?

SAD and depression, like any other mental disorder, result from a complex interplay of various genetic, biological and environmental causative factors. If a person in your family has been diagnosed with SAD, you are at risk of developing it too. SAD can also occur when the part of your brain which controls fear response (amygdala) is disturbed or damaged. People who had experienced bullying, family conflict, physical or sexual abuse, trauma, or teasing during their childhood or adolescence, can develop SAD in teenage or later adult life. Also, timid, shy or restrained children are at a high risk of SAD. Thus, experiences during your childhood can have a significant impact and increase the risk of mental disorders.

I am depressed Am I SAD?

Swapna wants to make new friends in her workplace, but she fears she will say or do something that will embarrass her. So, she stops participating in social activities and isolates herself, eventually becoming a victim of depression.

Research suggests that there is a strong association between SAD and depression. According to a study, being diagnosed with SAD at an early age is linked to developing depression in later life; but, everyone who has SAD may not develop depression. This progression of the disease can be avoided if SAD is addressed and treated appropriately at an early age.

Individuals with SAD are also at risk of dysthymia (the mild and chronic form of depression) and bipolar disorder (extreme mood shifts). SAD, as well as depression, are associated with an increased risk of progressing to substance abuse, impairments in personal and professional functioning, and the risk of suicide.

Quick sheet Are you SAD?

If you have noted the below signs and symptoms consistently, you might be SAD, and should consult a doctor.

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Low self-esteem
  • Low self-confidence
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Avoiding social interaction
  • Avoiding meeting new people or visiting new places
  • Conscious about what people might perceive about you
  • Always thinking about what to say rather than listening to people
  • Having inferiority complex

Solace for SAD

People who have SAD generally do not discuss their problems with anybody. Only when they realize that the condition is worsening and advancing to depression, they seek professional help. You must consult an experience and qualified Psychiatrist since SAD gets misdiagnosed as depression.

The treatment of SAD and depression depends on the degree of mental illness. The two types of treatment include psychotherapy and drug therapy. But, the therapy must be tailored for each patient with precautionary measures.

In India, some of the reputed institutes or foundations to help overcome SAD and depression include NIMHANS - Centre for Wellbeing (Bangalore), The Mind Research Foundation (Bangalore and Chandigarh), AASRA Foundation (Mumbai), and online providers like BetterHelp and E Wellness Expert.

Now you may consult worlds renowned Psychologists and Behavioral Sciences Professionals for your SAD and depression symptoms anytime, anywhere, through CallHealth. The CallHealth team will connect the doctor of your preference via video/teleconferencing.

Article by CallHealth Wellness Team
Inputs by
Ms. Jayashree Sarda (Mphil),
Consultant Psychologist, CallHealth

Have a Question?Consult Ms. Jayashree Sarda Online.

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