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Monday, January 25, 2010

What Are the Causes of Social Anxiety?

By Mark Daymond
People who suffer with social anxiety may find themselves being frustrated by the limitations that it causes them. The causes of social anxiety are rooted in a combination of genetics and behaviour that is learned in response to particular cognitive responses. Understanding how this comes about helps us to overcome this condition.
Sufferers will know the symptoms well; typically these include sweating, racing heart and feelings of panic. If you were faced with a dangerous situation then such a response would not be particularly surprising. But experiencing such symptoms in response to social situations is more unexpected. However, if you consider that most people think of public speaking as something that provokes such fear responses then this puts it into some sort of context.
These kinds of symptoms are normally associated with a "flight or fight" response as a result of being faced with some sort of danger. In fact people who suffer with social anxiety have unconsciously interpreted particular social situations as presenting some kind of mortal danger. Such people normally have a genetic predisposition to interpreting situations that could involve embarrassment, humiliation or shame as being dangerous to your survival and as result develop these fight/flight responses. These are primitive responses that would been vital for our survival when living in tribal communities when real physical danger was part of daily life. In these circumstances the boost of adrenalin would have been enough to help fight against a threatening foe or run away as fast as possible. Today, however, they tend to be something of a hindrance when dealing normal social situations.
It is not unusual the social anxiety sufferer to develop a pattern of thought such as the following. They become aware of a particular symptom (blushing perhaps) in a particular situation. Maybe someone remarks on this particular symptom making the sufferer more aware. The next time a similar situation again an anxiety response is triggered, made worse by the sufferer trying desperately not to exhibit the particular physical symptom of which they first became aware. In fact it is pretty much impossible to prevent these physical symptoms by simply trying not to exhibit them, this only exacerbates them.
Whilst the causes of social anxiety may have their roots in genetics, it does not mean that sufferers cannot do anything about it. In fact with a process of re-training their mind the sufferer can overcome these difficulties and stop being held back and achieve their true potential.
If you are someone who is fed up with being held back by your shyness and social anxiety then you need to take action to deal with it. Find out more about the causes of social anxiety. The author is an online researcher into shyness and social anxiety. His blog is focused on how to beat social anxiety.

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