Anxiety Disorder Intervention
An Anxiety Disorder Intervention must be tailored to the individual. Talk to an experienced anxiety disorder intervention specialist today at: 800-980-3927
Get the answers you need. Learn how to successfully plan, stage and perform an anxiety disorder intervention.
Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state characterized by somatic, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components.
Anxiety can create feelings of fear, worry, uneasiness and dread. Anxiety is considered to be a normal reaction to a stressor. It may help a person to deal with a difficult situation by prompting one to cope with it.
When anxiety becomes excessive, it may fall under the classification of an anxiety disorder. The intensity and reasoning behind anxiety determines whether it is considered a normal or abnormal reaction.
Standardized screening tools such as Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale can be used to detect anxiety symptoms,\ and suggest the need for a formal diagnostic assessment of anxiety disorder.
What is Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia?
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia) is when a person has an excessive and unreasonable fear of interacting with other people in social situations. A person with social phobia constantly fears they will embarrass themselves or make mistakes in front of other people, developing a negative self-consciousness.
A person with Social Anxiety Disorder will especially avoid situations where they are exposed to people they don’t know. When placed in this social situation, they become anxious or may have a panic attack.
As the illness progresses, persons with Social Anxiety Disorder may have distorted thinking, and may begin to avoid contact with other people. This may interfere with work, school and personal relationships.
What causes Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social Anxiety Disorder, like other anxiety problems, seems to have a genetic basis, as the disorder runs in families. Brain chemistry, perhaps related to serotinin levels, may play an important role in social anxiety disorder. In persons with anxiety disorders, the amygdala, a part of the brain involved in processing emotional responses, may be overactive.
Anxious behaviors may also be transmitted from parents to their children through direct exposure and observation. Persons with an anxious temperament, a history of psychological trauma, stress overload, poor self-esteem or personality issues may be predisposed to the development of anxiety disorders.
Chronic insomnia, overworking, exposure to high levels of stress, substance abuse, medical problems, and difficulties with family or other interpersonal relationships can contribute to the onset of Social Anxiety Disorder.
How is Social Anxiety Disorder diagnosed?
Social Anxiety Disorder is diagnosed from symptoms of fear or anxiousness surrounding social interactions. A person with social anxiety worries that they will be embarrassed or humiliated in front of others.
They may lack social skills or be quiet or shy. Accordingly, while they are immersed in a social interaction, they may endure extreme distress.
This social anxiety may manifest as anticipatory anxiety or once in the situation, a panic attack. Ultimately, thinking becomes distorted until the person with social anxiety starts to avoid interacting with other people, eliminating social engagements altogether.
They fear becoming the center of attention, and may become afraid to eat, speak or or work in front of other people. Persons with Social Anxiety Disorder may present with panic disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or depression. Thus, a careful evaluation must be performed to tease out symptoms of anxiety relating specifically to social interactions.
Many persons with social anxiety self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, which can complicate the diagnosis and treatment.
What is the Prognosis for Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social Anxiety Disorder, when properly diagnosed, responds well to treatment. Psychotherapy and, when necessary, medication are the cornerstones of treatment.
Sleep and stress management, and psycho-education significantly improve social anxiety symptoms. Unfortunately, many persons suffering from social anxiety turn to self-medication to alleviate their symptoms.
Some find that ingesting alcohol prior to a social interaction helps lower their fear and worrying. Similarly, benzodiazepine (valium, klonopin, ambien) use is also prevalent.
This self-medication is counterproductive and complicates both the diagnosis and treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder. Persons with Social Anxiety Disorder may also manifest panic disorder, depression, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
It is important for the clinician to identify these issues and diagnose the underlying social phobia so that it can be properly treated.
How Can Friends and Family Help?
A person suffering from social anxiety disorder may limit any social interactions to family members and loved ones. When there behavior becomes isolating, it is important for family members to help them reach a mental health provider or treatment center.
Family members and loved ones provide valuable resources including financial support, emotional encouragement, and transportation. Family members must be careful not to enable a person with social anxiety, by speaking or negotiating for them or helping them avoid social situations.
Psycho-education is also important for the family, to learn the symptoms and behaviors related to social anxiety, so they can provide a supportive, caring environment.
When Should a Client enter a Treatment Center?
Social anxiety disorder may go undetected for years. When a person with Social Anxiety Disorder develops avoidant behaviors that are negatively impacting their daily school or work life and personal and family relationships, an intensive treatment program should be considered. Once per week psychotherapy or medication may not be effective at managing social phobia. Also, persons with social anxiety may not be compliant with routine therapy or medications, or they may be self-medicating.
Before approaching someone of concern with an Anxiety Disorder Intervention, please contact an Intervention Specialist at: 800-980-3927
Listen to Carmine Thompson, BRI II Intervention Specialist on audio.