This week, we’re tipping our hat to The Huffington Post. The famed news site, which is read by millions, put a very important story on its homepage. And sadly, this is a story that is all too often missed by the mainstream media. We are talking about Social Anxiety and the very real phobias that impact a large percentage of people in this country.
The HuffPo headline reads: Social Anxiety Doesn’t Get The Attention It Deserves. And that couldn’t ring more true. First we get the surprising stat. Did you know that over 15 million Americans suffer from this issue? And, for the most part, they suffer in silence.
Several case studies were used throughout the article, highlighting everyday people who find “simple tasks” excruciating. Sophie Trapani, for example, would convulse and literally shut down whenever she would have to speak in front of people. This led to her losing work, shying away from friends and even distancing herself from her family. In truth, it all becomes a vicious cycle where people get stuck in isolation.
Common fears include being judged, being rejected by peers or being confronted by dangerous people. These may not all be “rational” to the everyday person, but they are daily reality for those suffering from fear. Social anxiety can also overlap with other issues, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression or panic attacks. Worse yet, people afflicted by this are often labeled as “shy” and not taken seriously.
The article goes on to highlight the enablers of the modern world and how, in today’s day and age, it is much easier to retreat and not face your problems. Social media and the web, for example, can allow people to hide even more and go undiagnosed.
We understand that this is a very serious issue and actually have treatment options for people suffering from this affliction. The most important thing a person can do, is recognize the symptoms of social anxiety. And it is just as important for a person’s network of family and friends to acknowledge it too and, perhaps, step in if help is needed.
“It is rather easy for those who do not understand or experience the condition to ignore or marginalize the disorder,” clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly told HuffPo. “As a result, those who suffer from social anxiety often feel as if they are outcasts ― as if they do not measure up. A therapist or psychiatrist can help you work through the worst of it.”
We couldn’t agree more and are happy to help anyone suffering from this take the first step to wellness.