The high-tech society of today truly caters to the person who suffers from Social Anxiety Disorder. Living in the age of the Internet, email, text messaging, and caller ID, only makes it easier for a socially anxious person to avoid certain feared situations. The wonderful technology that we have has made it possible for people to make a living, go shopping, use services, and have “relationships” without ever seeing or directly interacting with another person. Ultimately, living like this can be detrimental and deeply unsatisfying. We understand the struggles, discomfort, and dissatisfaction that Social Anxiety Disorder causes and hope that you will find comfort and motivation in the knowledge that this problem can improve.
What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
In the 1960's when the idea of social phobia was first recognized, doctors considered it a very rare condition. Today, however, we know that social anxiety affects at least 1 in 10 people at sometime during their lives. Social anxiety, or social phobia, is the distinct, persistent fear of one or more social situations in which you are afraid of being scrutinized by others or in which you fear that you will act in an embarrassing or humiliating way. Social Anxiety Disorder is diagnosed if you avoid these social situations or endure them only with intense discomfort. It can be either "Specific" or "Generalized." You might have specific social anxiety if your discomfort is limited to one or two social situations such as speaking in front of a group or confronting someone in a position of authority. Generalized social anxiety is more pervasive in that your fear extends to almost all situations where other people are present.
Who is affected by Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social Anxiety Disorder affects men and women of all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, though its presentation may look different across cultures/societies. When social anxiety is undiagnosed and untreated for too long, the effects can be quite debilitating. People generally report symptoms of social anxiety as early as childhood and will not typically just “grow out of” them. Instead, the symptoms and avoidance behaviors worsen over time and begin to prevent relationships, education/career growth, and general day to day confidence.
What can be done?
Fortunately, research demonstrates that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment in reducing and sometimes eliminating symptoms associated with social anxiety. When you elect to begin CBT treatment, you begin the journey of challenging unhealthy behaviors and self-destructive thoughts that contribute to repeated avoidance of social situations. Dr. Shinar acts like a coach, educator, and motivator to guide you through the necessary skill needed to manage your anxiety as you learn to cope with the discomforts of social situations like parties, dates, and public speaking at work or at weddings. The process is designed to be short term and proactive, with regular homework assignments and encouragement to keep challenging yourself until you meet your goals.
To learn more about individual therapy, contact Dr. Shinar at (917) 806-0155 or DrShinar@PsychologistsNYC.com to schedule a complimentary telephone or Skype screening to determine your goodness of fit for therapy.