It is a common experience to feel nervous before speaking in front of a crowd, or when meeting someone new. However, for some, this nervousness becomes overwhelming. This is known as Social Anxiety Disorder; the persistent fear of evaluation in social situations.
Common examples include constant worrying what others will think of you, becoming easily embarrassed, and avoiding social gatherings. Other examples include embarrassment about sweating, or blushing. Some of the difficulties experienced include having trouble forming relationships, or fulfilling roles at work which involve social interactions.
Social Anxiety Disorder is the third most common mental illness in the United States affecting roughly 15 million Americans. Social Anxiety Disorder is the most widespread with a 13.3% lifetime prevalence rate affecting 3.7% of the population at any given time.
Along with the anxiety, many of these individuals fear telling anyone about their anxiety, thinking others would judge them or tease them. What this means is, you are not alone! There are many other individuals out there with the same fears.
Does this sound like you? The good news is there are effective treatments out there, specifically cognitive behavioral therapy (Rapee & Heimberg, 1997). There is strong empirical support (meaning medical and psychological studies with patients) for cognitive behavioral therapy for many anxiety disorders. What this suggests is that there are many individuals suffering from similar symptoms as you, who are trying out this type of therapy- and it works!
Unfortunately, due to limited knowledge of Social Anxiety Disorder in the general population, few individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder seek out treatment (compared to individuals with other anxiety disorders). In addition, shyness and Social Anxiety Disorder often carry negative stereotypes. The face to face interaction of therapy is often intimidating for someone with Social Anxiety Disorder, which makes socially anxious people hard to reach. Therefore purpose of this website is to adapt cognitive-behavioral therapy to an online format, with the hopes of reaching those individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder that may not be ready for traditional face to face therapy. It is our hope that providing the same information in an online anonymous format will make you more comfortable with the process.
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