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Living With Social Anxiety Disorder

Tips for Living With Social Anxiety Disorder

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Updated July 07, 2012

Living with social anxiety disorder (SAD) can take a toll on your personal and professional life. Usually people go many years before being diagnosed and have developed maladaptive coping mechanisms. During and after treatment, it is important to acknowledge the disorder and to use strategies to minimize the negative impact on your life.

First Steps: Getting Help

Without proper treatment, SAD can be chronic and severely impair your quality of life. Unfortunately, the nature of the disorder means that you are a person who is afraid to ask for help. If even approaching a friend, family member or your doctor seems too overwhelming, look to see if there is a university in your area that offers confidential counseling. You may even be able to contact them for the first time via email. No matter what course of action you take, it is important to take the first step.

SAD and Your Career

A strong relationship has been found between SAD and lower educational attainment, reduced employment opportunities, lower income, and dependence on social assistance. If you are currently employed, it is important to be aware of the best ways of managing a mental health disorder in the workplace. Below are some tips for coping with SAD in the workplace.

Self-Help

Although no substitute for proper diagnosis and treatment, the use of self-help strategies may offer some control over your symptoms and allow you to be an active participant in the recovery process. Below are some self-help strategies that may help to reduce your anxiety.

The Stories of Others

Reading stories about other people that are living with SAD will help to make you feel less isolated. Below are some personal stories about social anxiety, including those of well-known celebrities.

Relationships

SAD can take a toll on your relationships with others. It can affect your ability to make friends and to find a romantic partner. It can even negatively affect those that are closest to you, as they try to help you deal with your anxiety symptoms. Below are some articles to help you cope with the impact of SAD on your relationships.

Social Skills

Some people who have SAD also suffer from a deficit in social skills. Fortunately, social skills can be learned as part of a social skills training program sometimes incorporated with treatment. There are also many strategies that you can use on your own to improve your social skills. Below are some tips to get you started.

Handling Performance Anxiety

Performances can take many forms: public speaking, athletic competitions, and even musical events. If you suffer from SAD and are involved in some sort of performing, chances are that you have battled nerves on stage or during a competition. Below are some tips to help you cope.

In the end, only you can decide how best to live with SAD. If you have been in treatment, you may simply need to be vigilant about using coping strategies to avoid a relapse of symptoms. Most people will never live completely without social anxiety, but rather achieve a balance in which your anxiety does not negatively affect your daily functioning or place limits on what you can achieve.

Sources:

Statistics Canada. Social Anxiety Disorder. 01 Aug 2007.

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