Social Anxiety Disorder

Mental Health Clinic Queens Social anxiety disorder or social phobia is a common type of anxiety disorder that affects approximately 15 million adults living in the United States.  According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, it is characterized by “an intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation.”

There is no exact known cause for social anxiety disorder; although, it is believed that genetics play a significant role.  Social phobia is also linked to having an overactive amygdala; the part of the brain that controls our response to fear.  Others factors believed to contribute to the disorder are a history of abuse or bullying.

The onset of social anxiety disorder typically begins in the early to mid –teens; however, it can also occur in young children and adults.

Those with social anxiety disorder often experience physical symptoms associated with fear or anxiety in social situations. These symptoms may include rapid heart rate, dizziness, muscle tension, sweating or nausea.

Symptoms of social anxiety disorder can profoundly affect an individual’s ability to live a normal life.  Those affected often avoid or have trouble with normal, day-to-day social situations such as making eye contact, entering rooms where there are people, using public restrooms, eating in front of people or going to work or school.

These behaviors are often indicative of a more serious problem that could be developing as a result of social anxiety disorder. If left unaddressed, social phobia can lead to low self-esteem, negative thoughts, depression, substance abuse or suicide.

The best approach to treating social anxiety disorder is to receive assistance from a mental health professional.  They will be able to assess your health to determine whether you have a social anxiety disorder or other mental health conditions.  As part of your treatment, a mental health professional may recommend psychotherapy or medications.  They may also suggest implementing lifestyle changes such as exercising, learning stress reduction skills or participating in support groups.

To make an appointment or to speak with a mental health provider at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5575.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is Your Constant State of Nervousness and Worry a Sign of an Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety-509985137Anxiety is an emotion we all experience. Feeling anxious is a normal reaction to stressful situations such as waiting for the results of a test, speaking in public or preparing for a job interview.  Anxiety is often synonymous with feelings of distress, nervousness, panic and fear.  These reactions are normally triggered when our bodies feel that there is danger or there is a threatening situation.

For most the feeling of anxiety is temporary and will subside once stressful or threatening circumstances are resolved.  However for an estimated 18.1 percent of adults living in the United States, anxiety does not go away and develops into a serious mental health disorder that affects their ability to lead a normal life.

There are six major types of anxiety disorders: panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorders, social anxiety disorders, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorders. Symptoms can be specific to a condition and can differ based on the individual.

The following symptoms of anxiety may be indicative of a developing problem, especially if they continue for an extended period of time:

  • Experiencing a constant state of worry or fear.
  • Having trouble concentrating.
  • Insomnia or other chronic sleep related problems.
  • Heart palpitations or chest pain during a state of panic.
  • A fear of being around people or being in public places.
  • Suffering from overwhelming compulsions, such as constantly washing hands.
  • Irrational fears of objects or activities that pose little to no danger.
  • Experiencing anxiety as a result of a traumatic event.

If the preceding symptoms occur on a regular basis and have become so great that they are interfering with your ability to function daily, it is recommended that you seek the help of a mental health professional.

The Department of Psychiatry at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center offers psychiatric consultation and treatment services.  Our team of mental health professionals consists of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, creative arts therapists and support staff who are dedicated to positive outcomes and work closely with each patient to provide necessary clinical treatment and services. To learn more about the Psychiatry Department at Jamaica Hospital visit www.JamaicaHospital.org  or call 718 206 5575.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.