Shyness and social anxiety are frequently confused. However, there are key distinctions: shyness is a personality characteristic (whereas social anxiety is not), and shy persons do not experience the negative emotions and feelings associated with social anxiety.
Also, whereas shy people avoid certain situations because of fear, those with social anxiety suffer from intense anxiety when faced with large groups or when expected to speak up in class or at work. Finally, while shy people may enjoy some aspects of being around others, those with social anxiety dislike social interaction and would prefer to be alone than to participate in something that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Social anxiety can affect anyone at any time, but it is most common among adolescents and young adults. Although men and women experience social anxiety to some degree, it tends to run more highly in males. Genetics play a role in developing social anxiety disorder, but environmental factors also play a part.
People with social anxiety worry about how they will be perceived by others. They may avoid social interactions out of fear of what might happen or lack familiarity with how others expect them to behave. With practice and support from friends and family, many people are able to learn how to deal with their fears and engage more fully with their communities. In severe cases, treatment from professionals is required.
Shyness is a personality characteristic. Many shy persons do not experience the unpleasant emotions and feelings associated with social anxiety disorder. They have a regular life and do not consider shyness to be a bad characteristic. However, some shy people do suffer from social anxiety disorder. If you are shy, it is important to understand that this does not mean that you have a bad character. You are just born with certain traits that some people can change while others aren't capable of changing.
Being shy is different from being antisocial. Some people are introverted, which means they prefer to stay inside themselves instead of getting involved in other people's affairs. These individuals may be shy because they don't want to put themselves out there but still want to enjoy their own company. On the other hand, those who are antisocial choose not to get involved with other people at all. They may avoid social interactions by staying inside or hiding away in solitude if they feel uncomfortable around others.
Being shy is a problem if you feel anxious in social situations. You might worry about how you are going to talk enough to hold someone's attention, how you are going to act around other people, or even whether anyone will like you. Social anxiety disorder causes severe anxiety when an individual thinks about talking in front of others or starts to feel nervous.
Shyness is another characteristic that is frequently confused with social anxiety and introversion. It has also been proposed that social anxiety is merely an excessive kind of shyness. Shy people, including those who suffer from social anxiety, are often uncomfortable around strangers and are cautious to open up in social circumstances. However, they do not want to be seen as aloof or antisocial.
In its most severe form, social anxiety can lead to isolation and depression. People with this problem avoid social situations because it makes them feel bad. Often, they believe these events will be humiliating failures. This misunderstanding can cause the problem to worsen over time. Seeking help for social anxiety is important because it can be cured.
Is social anxiety disorder simply another term for being extremely shy? Many individuals feel shy, but those who suffer from social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia) can become overwhelmed with worry in even the most basic social interactions. Peter (not his actual name) was a brilliant businessman with a PhD and a promising future. One day he came home and told his wife that she had been let go from her job. They had to file for bankruptcy due to the high cost of living and other financial problems. He said that they could not afford a staff anymore and suggested that they sell their house and move into an apartment. She refused to do this because they loved the house where they had raised their children.
He became more and more anxious about these issues and avoided social situations like the plague. He would get so nervous before going out that he would vomit all over himself. His doctor prescribed him antidepressants, which helped a little, but never gave him any real relief from his symptoms. After several years of marriage, Peter developed an obsession with divorce. He felt that if his wife left him then everything would be okay. Once he heard that she was thinking of filing for divorce, he called her at work and screamed at her for trying to break up their family. He threatened to kill himself if she went through with it. When she asked why he was doing this, he said that he didn't know but that he needed her to forgive him immediately or else he wouldn't be able to live with himself.
The most notable distinction between SAD and shyness is that social anxiety disorder impairs one's functioning in all areas, not just socially. Social anxiety in adults can hinder one's ability to function at work and generate issues in one's personal life. Adults with social anxiety tend to avoid interactions with others because they fear being judged or humiliated.
Sadness is a normal reaction to losing something important to you. You may feel sad if someone you love dies or if you lose your job. Sad feelings are natural but if you don't do anything to cope with them, they can stay with you for a long time. If you aren't careful, you can become depressed if you suffer from sadness repeatedly. Depression is when you experience feelings of despair and loss of interest in everyday things for more than two weeks.
Shyness is also a normal reaction to feeling uncomfortable around people you don't know well. It's common to be shy around friends or family members because they know you well enough to sense your discomfort. However, if you are too afraid to talk to strangers, this type of shyness can lead to social anxiety disorder.
Sadness and shyness are both common emotions that many people experience at some point in their lives. But if you feel sad or shy often, especially if this behavior starts early in life, it may be a sign that you are experiencing depression or social anxiety disorder.