Social Disorders and You
Our world in a lot of ways is shaped by the people we know and interact with. We are partially a product of the environment that inhabits us. A major portion of our identity is formed through connections with family, friends, mentors and, peer groups. Therefore any situation or issue that impedes these social bonds may be detrimental to one’s self development. Such is the case with Social Disorders, the term used to describe a wide range of psychological/behavioral phobias seen in a social context. Social Disorders span a spectrum, and can range in intensity; from the slight worries about speaking in front of large crowds, to the deliberating anxiety of a person fearing the outside world.
Over time Social Anxiety disorder has become a highly studied phobia. With an estimated 15 million people in the United States alone suffering from this disorder. Symptoms can begin in adolescences, and may take a toll on many high school, college and university students. So at this point you may be asking yourself, doesn’t everyone have anxiety? A large portion of the population at some point will endure some level of anxiety- we are human and experience an array of complex emotions, naturally. You may feel anxiety in job interviews, public speaking and even while on blind dates. However, for a person with social anxiety, such situations can become overwhelming and in some rare cases lead to panic attacks. They are unable move on from the event, and becomes it a source of anguish, sadness, and frustration. Moreover, it goes beyond shyness, as teenagers and children we all experience a tendencies of shyness, as it’s a natural part of growing up. In contrast, Social Disorders are all encompassing, affecting various aspects of a person’s life. Such avoidant behavior includes: missing school or work, reduced or no interaction with others, lack of personal connections, fear of entering large classrooms and attending social events.
So far we covered the sweeping generalities of social disorders. Within this lie many subsets, which have their own symptoms and behavior traits. A few that come to mind are Social Phobias; Social Communication Disorder (primarily found in children), and Avoidant Personality Disorder. Looking for solutions, there are now multiple techniques used to treat the symptoms and the related mental thoughts associated with social disorders. Treatments include Cognitive Behavior Therapy-challenging the anxiety provoking thoughts and attempting to reduce the follow through behavior. Exposure Therapy can also be useful for less pronounced social disorders, and lastly medications ranging from Selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) to Beta Blockers can be beneficial. However, taking medication isn’t always a cure for the problem. Help and support can be found at your local campus health-centers, through your guidance counselors and/or a trusted mentor. There is always a way for you to seek help and overcome a social disorder, to lift the veil of silence and reach for your better self- it’s in there!
 Social Anxiety Disorder | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2015.
Mayoclinicorg. (2015). Mayoclinicorg. Retrieved 12 July, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/social-anxiety-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20032524
 Helpguideorg. (2015). Helpguideorg. Retrieved 14 July, 2015, from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder-and-social-phobia.htm