How Social Anxiety Affects Real People

MILLIONS of people around the globe suffer from a disorder called social anxiety (a.k.a. social phobia) and related conditions. Despite being the most common form of anxiety disorder and the cause of much suffering, it is under-treated and not very well recognized. Yet almost everyone knows what it is like to feel shy or lacking in social confidence, often to a point that can affect happiness. Because of this problem, issues are still unknown amongs’t the general public where most are not even aware that the problem which can cause so much trouble on their lives actually has a name.

Here are some of the latest news about social anxiety and how it is affecting both the young and old, the popular and the ordinary people.

Teens with Social Anxiety Engage in Earlier Alcohol, Marijuana Use

Among teens with substance use disorders, those who also have social anxiety disorder begin using marijuana at a mean age of 10.6 years – an average of 2.2 years earlier than teens without anxiety, according to a study conducted at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “This finding surprised us,” said principal investigator Alexandra Wang, a third-year medical student at the university. “It shows we need to start earlier with prevention of drug and alcohol use and treatment of social phobia [in children].”

The study involved 195 teens (102 girls, 52 percent), aged 14 to 18 years, who met the current diagnosis of substance use disorder and had received medical detoxification if needed.

Child overcomes social anxiety after diagnosis of Selective Mutism

Nine-year old-Cecilia Peon is fascinated by reptiles. The Junction Triangle resident loves to help care for her class’ pet Bearded Dragon at Alpha Alternative School in the King Street and Spadina Avenue-area. Recently, the pre-teen talked excitedly about reptiles with the owner of a local pet shop – a conversation that would never have taken place only months ago, according to her mother, Nuria Gonzalez. That’s because Cecilia has a condition called Selective Mutism. Selective Mutism is a type of anxiety disorder so extreme that it causes children to become so anxious they are unable to speak, explained Dr. Suneeta Monga, associate chief of education in the psychiatry department at The Hospital for Sick Children.

Clint Eastwood’s Wife Dina Enters Rehab for Anxiety, Depression

Clint Eastwood’s wife Dina has reportedly checked herself into rehab in Arizona, seeking treatment for anxiety and depression.

Social anxiety disorder is the third most common mental health problem in the United States, after depression and alcohol dependence.

Dina Eastwood, who stars in a reality television show, “Mrs. Eastwood and Company,” with Clint’s daughter Francesca, reportedly is not seeking treatment for substance abuse.

Anxiety is a social disorder in which a person feels excessive or unreasonable fears of social interaction. Social anxiety is often linked to other mental health problems, including panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and depression.

Chronic pain sufferers often experience anxiety as well

Researchers have suggested that patients coping with chronic pain should also be evaluated for anxiety disorders.

Lead author Kurt Kroenke, M.D., professor of medicine at Indiana University in Indianapolis, noted that health care providers are more aware of the common occurrence of depression in patients with chronic pain, and there has been less of an emphasis on anxiety.

In the new study, researchers evaluated 250 primary care patients who were being treated at a Veterans Medical Center in the Midwest. All patients had moderate to severe chronic joint or back pain that had lasted at least 3 months despite trying pain medications.

Social anxiety disorder is a chronic mental health condition, but treatment such as psychological counseling, medication and learning coping skills can help you gain confidence and improve your ability to interact with others.

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