Social Anxiety Disorder is not Shyness

It is not difficult to understand why people without social anxiety may assume that the disorder is similar to shyness.  After all, everyone can relate to feeling shy at one time or another. It’s a word we all know and use frequently.  Everyone can relate to feeling shy at one time or another.  In studies, nearly half of Americans describe themselves as being shy.  Severe shyness is, however, something different.  And social anxiety disorder is something different yet again.

It is, therefore, understandable that people with social anxiety disorder often receive comments from friends or family such as,

  • “don’t worry”,
  • “relax, you’re fine”,
  • “just do it”, or
  • “it’s no big deal.”

These comments, no matter how well-intentioned, are just platitudes for the person suffering from social anxiety.  They are ineffective.  Don’t you think a person with social anxiety would stop worrying if they could?  This gets to the core of social anxiety – irrational thinking, doubts and worry.  Social anxiety is all-consuming; it can affect nearly all parts of a person’s life.  It limits a person’s world.  It  becomes a part of every decision, every thought.

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