Does fear hold you back from being social or joining in other activities where there will be a large crowd of people? Then you may be suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder. According to research this social phobia affects approximately 15 million American adults and is ranked the third highest mental health issue in America.
In this post, we will discuss this condition, the causes, the symptoms and how an emotional support animal can help with social anxiety disorder.
What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
The definition of Social Anxiety Disorder is the intense fear of social situations that requires interaction with other people. This stems from being negatively perceived and judged by other people. It is a chronic condition that can affect every area of a person’s life.
What Causes Social Anxiety Disorder?
Although the exact cause of Social Anxiety Disorder has not been discovered, researchers believe a combination of genetics and outside influences may contribute to the phobia such as being bullied, sexual abuse and conflict in the family unit.
There are also physiological anomalies that may be at play such as a serotonin imbalance and an overactive amygdala which is responsible for the fear and anxiety response and in our brains.
Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder
There are many symptoms of social anxiety disorder. These include both physical and psychological issues.
Physical Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder
- Difficulty speaking
- Excessive sweating
- Increased heart rate
Psychological Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder
- Excessive worry over social situations
- Worrying days/weeks in advance of a social event
- Avoiding social engagements or trying to “blend into the background” when in attendance
- Excessive worry over people seeing you nervous or anxious
- Worrying about embarrassing yourself in social gatherings
- Missing work/school over social phobia
- Needing alcohol to face social situations
People suffering from social phobia are most often anxious about;
- Being asked a question and/or job interviews
- Using public restrooms
- Eating in public
- Talking on the telephone
How an Emotional Support Animal Can Help With Social Anxiety Disorder
An emotional support animal may be able to help alleviate some of the symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder. Although, an ESA can be of any species, having a canine companion may be the biggest help for people with a social phobia.
Dogs need to go outdoors, so people who suffer from a social phobia will have to embark on this task with their canine companion. Having a dog is also a great way to “break the ice” with people and will help take the focus off of the owner themselves.
Any species of ESA will love the person unconditional and will not judge or ask questions of the socially phobic individual. Animals love unconditionally and are always there to listen to our problems.
People who care for animals also tend to have lower blood pressure and lower stress in their lives as pets can produce those “feel good” hormones in our brains and body.
ESA’s & Social Anxiety Disorder
If you believe you may be suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder, be sure to enlist the aid of a doctor or trained medical professional. These people can make a proper diagnosis, then set out a plan to help you with this condition.
If you do decide to enlist the help of an emotional support animal, then be sure it is the type of animal that will help alleviate your anxiety, not add to it.
Lastly, having a Social Anxiety Disorder is treatable. Take the necessary steps to get back on the path of life. You deserve it!