Social anxiety is the third largest mental health problem in the states. It affects more than fifteen million people. The biggest problem with this disorder is that there is no clear definition for it and is more than often misunderstood by the people and medical professionals.
Many people with social anxiety disorder feel that there is “something wrong,” but don’t recognize their feeling as a sign of illness. Physiological effects, similar to those in other anxiety disorders, are present in social phobics. Social anxiety disorder can be so debilitating that it interferes with work, school and other routine activities. Social anxiety disorder may be linked to other mental illnesses, such as panic disorder , obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. Signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder can fluctuate over time. Physical symptoms include “mind going blank”, fast heartbeat, blushing, stomach ache. Cognitive distortions are a hallmark, and learned about in CBT.
One of the biggest problem is that most people have never heard of such a disease and they end up thinking that they are the only one suffering from such a problem. This demotivates them. They often try to hide the symptoms, exclude themselves from the rest of the world and just let their problems grow.
Even if the sufferer does summon up enough courage to seek professional help, the relative dearth of knowledge on the subject could pose a difficulty in getting at a correct diagnosis, making the situation worse. This is compounded by the fact that this type of anxiety is unlikely to just disappear.
Famous people have had social anxiety as well. Kim Basinger had a few panic attacks due to her anxiety problem, but after getting professional help she was able to overcome it.
If you really want to have a normal social life, then you need to seek help. Drugs, alcohol and anti depressants are not going to do you any good.