Social Anxiety Disorder


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Social Anxiety Disorder

  1. 1. Social Anxiety Amanda Dahlquist
  2. 2. Introduction n this interactive presentation, I hope to explore Social Anxiety in depth. The term “Social Anxiety” may be used synonymously with “Social Phobia”; however, for the purpose of this presentation I will be using the term “Social Anxiety”. Because of the difference in the manifestation of the disorder, I will be presenting the adult and child population in a semi-separate fashion. I will also explore how the brain of someone with Social Anxiety may function differently then the normal population. This presentation is built around a navigational system. To get the most out of your experience use the buttons on the following pages to navigate as you explore. All research used in this presentation is cited under “References”.
  3. 3. Main Menu
  4. 4. What is Social Anxiety? 
 Because most everyone has experienced some of the characteristics of Social Anxiety, it is easier to relate to; however, this also makes it more difficult for some individuals to understand the disorder. For example, everyone has felt nervous about a social situation at some time in life. This helps a person to relate, on a certain level, to how an individual with Social Anxiety feels. However, because everyone has felt this characteristic on some level, it is more difficult to understand why this disorder is different from what is felt by a normal individual.
  5. 5. What does Social Anxiety look like? 
 An individual with Social Anxiety Disorder experiences a persistent fear of social or performance situations.[1][2] This fear is generated by the idea that the individual will be scrutinized or evaluated in some way and that they will do something to deserve a negative opinion. Although this individual realizes their anxiety is unfounded, most often they will choose to avoid these social situations. Though, in some cases the situation is endured with extreme discomfort. The severity of anxious behaviors varies in different individuals, from “minor discomfort”, to “severely de-habilitating”.
  6. 6. Sever to Minor Anxiety Exhibited in Individuals:
 Panic Attack[1][2] Confusion Diarrhea Gastrointestinal Discomfort Muscle tension Tremors Heart Palpitations Sweating Blushing
  7. 7. Specific Social Anxiety Disorder
 Usually, an individual exhibits Social Anxiety in a specific social situation or performance situation. [1] This is called “Specific” or “Non-Generalized Social Anxiety”. To be diagnosed with Specific Social Anxiety, the anxiety must significantly interfere with the person’s daily routine, occupation or social life.
  8. 8. Example of a Specific Social Anxiety: As a hypothetical example, suppose an individual exhibits a Specific Social Phobia: riding their bicycle in public. This person has no other phobias about riding the bike itself (they are not afraid of the bicycle and they know how to ride a bike, etc.). This person may not be diagnosed with Specific Social Phobia, because they do not need to ride their bike in public, or even want to be able to. So they are able to live a full un- prohibited life without dealing with the fear of riding a bicycle in public. However, what if all other means of transportation became outlawed and the bicycle was the only means of getting somewhere of a substantial distance? This would severely impact the individual’s life. This is of course an extreme example, but this individual would probably be diagnosed and need to work though their Specific Social Anxiety of riding a bicycle in public.
  9. 9. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
 An individual with Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder has fear concerning most all facets of social and performance situations. [1] This individual often suffers from hypersensitivity. They interpret neutral social signals as negative. For example, they may interpret a yawn as they are boring someone or someone squinting their eyes against the sun as glaring at them. Because of this hypersensitivity constructive criticism can be wrongfully devastating to a person suffering from Social Anxiety, as it is interpreted as a personal rejection or affront. General Social Anxiety is usually associated with a feeling of inferiority and low self-esteem, which is perpetuated by a difficulty with being assertive.
  10. 10. Hypersensitivity: How much emotion do these pictures invoke? It maybe surprising that these images actually provoke a response within the amygdale of the brain, a part of the brain used to process emotions. [2][13]
  11. 11. Hypersensitivity: Perhaps this is not so surprising after all, because as the pictures of the different faces were viewed, the brain was able to process the emotions the faces convey. [2] Studies done with the Social Anxiety population showed that when they were shown photographs of people’s faces with emotion their amygdale had an exaggerated response.[5] Dr. Evens along with his fellow researches wondered if they could get the same response from the Generalized Social Anxiety population by just using line drawings of emotional faces. So here’s the surprising part, it worked. Go ahead and look at the pictures again, then think of trying to function in everyday situations if these line drawings provoke an exaggerated response in the emotional centers of the brain.
  12. 12. In Summary
 In summary, a person with Social Anxiety has a persistent fear of social or performance situations. [1][2] This fear is generated by the anxiety of being watched or evaluated in a negative way. This person usually recognizes that their fear is unreasonable or unfounded; however, exposure to the social situation inevitably results in anxiety. Usually, this person avoids these social situations but, if they are unavoidable they are endured with a great amount of discomfort. Social Anxiety, if untreated, significantly interferes with a person’s daily routine and social life.
  13. 13. Social Anxiety in Children Children experience an incredible amount of change as they grow older. As they change they build upon a basic understanding of their world. Sometimes this understanding can lead to a temporary Social Anxiety, such as not wanting to talk in front of the opposite gender. But as they get older and their understanding of the world changes this behavior also changes and their anxiety disappears as the begin realize that they actually like the “cooties” of the opposite gender, so much so that they don’t even mind their “cootie shots” anymore. Because of this incredible amount of change, it is sometimes harder to diagnose a child with Social Anxiety Disorder. To complicate things further, there are many different other disorders that can either be the cause of “Social Anxiety like” symptoms or can be caused by the Social Anxiety, as demonstrated under the “Differential Diagnosis” section of presentation. In young children, there is less to draw on in their life experiences to know or understand what their symptoms may be a result of. Because of this fact a diagnosis is usually not made until the child has been displaying symptoms for at least 6 months.
  14. 14. Characteristics in Children Because a child’s life will be significantly different from an adult’s life, some aspects of Social Anxiety manifests itself a little differently. For example, as a child, school is a significant part of our lives. This is why the first people to recognize the symptoms of Social anxiety are usually the principle, teachers and nurse of the school the child attends. [14] It is important to understand the difference between simple shyness and Social Anxiety Disorder in children. As Dr. Setzer and his associate points out, “School refusal behavior” can be a main indicator of Social Anxiety.[19]
  15. 15. School Refusal Behavior Children will be children, and sometimes that means that they want stay at home and play rather then go to school and learn. When this desire becomes a concern is when children want to stay home for the sake of not going to school. [19] This avoidant behavior can be due to the anxiety cause by peer and or authority interaction (when no apparent reason is present, ie. Bullying), and performance based situations (ie. Test taking, reading aloud).[18] School refusal behavior can be taken to dangerous levels by the child, such as the child making themselves sick (ie. Purposefully overdosing on medications, self inflicted vomiting). When school refusal becomes habitual, it is important to investigate why it exists before it becomes an immediate danger to the child. The avenues for investigation will be more apparent within the “Causes” section of this presentation and how to help the child will become clear in the “Treatment” section of this presentation.
  16. 16. School Refusal Behavior Drawing on personal experience (see “Life” for more details) as well as the results of recent studies, it is important for the caretakers in the child’s life to be able to work together. Regardless of the cause of school refusal behavior, it is important for the parents to be involved with the teaches of the child, not to create a crutch for the child’s anxiety, but to provide support for overcoming their disorder. This will provide tremendous insight for the parent into what the child may be trying to avoid. It will also alert the teacher to be mindful of the child’s behavior. And perhaps most importantly it will eventually help make the rehabilitation of the child easier, by bringing a consistency of goals and the exposure to the feared situations to both the home and the school environment. This will provide a safer atmosphere for the child to learn vital social skills.[14][10]
  17. 17. Brain Characteristics of Social Anxiety The field of Brain Research is a relatively new one. Because of this fact there is so much exploration waiting to be done, especially in relation to this presentation’s topic, Social Anxiety. However, there have been some interesting developments on this front. There have been many studies conducted comparing the amygdala (a part of the brain used to process emotions) in participants with Social Anxiety and participants without it. When these participants are presented with an emotional cue (line drawings of faces), their responses where recorded by an MRI scan. These studies revealed that the participants with Social Anxiety Disorder reacted with a hyperactive amygdala compared to those with out the disorder. More will be discussed under the “Causes” section of this presentation. SAD = Social Anxiety Disorder HC = Healthy Control, those without
  18. 18. How is Social Anxiety distinctive? Because Social anxiety can sometimes precede other disorders, or co-occur, it is sometimes misdiagnosed. [3][6][8][16][20] Mood disorders such as major depression, panic disorder and bipolar disorder are just some of the disorders highly associated with Social Anxiety. [10][14] This can make Social Anxiety more difficult to recognize, because the symptoms of these co-existent disorders are usually more visible. For example, some individuals suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder may turn to a substance abuse method in order to cope. So, they may be diagnosed with alcoholism or other drug related issues instead of with the root problem.
  19. 19. Differential Diagnostics However, the converse is also possible. Because many disorders may start out looking like Social Anxiety disorder, an individual may be diagnosed with Social Anxiety and actually suffer from a different problem, or disorder. To explore some differential diagnostics choose a button below.
  20. 20. Substance Abuse Though substance abuse can be a coping method for individuals with Social Anxiety, it can also cause symptoms that look a lot like the disorder. When an individual has an addiction to a substance there is a set of cognitive thought processes that allow the individual to tolerate their behavior. [21]This thought process may include the idea that the individual needs to fulfill their cravings because they need or deserve to escape reality. They may experience anxiety, depression and even anger and paranoia before and sometimes even after the administration of the substance. This thought process may begin to look like Social Anxiety, because the individual becomes withdrawn from reality, begins to become anxious without the substance and may show some social withdraw, or phobia, such as difficulty talking to authority figures. Substance Abuse: Social Anxiety: Social Anxiety like Anxiety is present symptoms are usually caused because of a social situation. by withdraw. Anxiety is not The individual may find the brought on my the social situation more bearable when situation itself, it is instead they use a certain substance, brought on by a withdrawal but the cause of the anxiety is from the substance. the social situation itself.
  21. 21. Schizoid Personality Disorder Individuals with schizoid personality disorder become withdrawn socially and may display inappropriate emotional responses in social situations.[1] Schizoid Personality Disorder: Social Anxiety: The individual does not An individual with Social desire or enjoy close Anxiety may seem emotionally relationships, usually chooses to distant. This may be because of be alone, even in situations their self-analyzing mindset, meant to be socially stimulating. which may cause them to miss They are emotionally detached important social cues. However, and they may not be aware, or they are painfully aware of their care about their antisocial antisocial behavior and tend to behavior. They tend to be shy away from social situations because they care too much about indifferent to praise or criticism. their social behavior. They are hypersensitive to even neutral verbal and physical social cues, which may cause them to miss realistic social cues.
  22. 22. Body Dysmorphic Disorder Individuals with Body Dysmorphic Disorder can tend to shy away from certain social situations.[1] They also have low self-esteem and trouble with confidence. They are socially anxious in certain social situations. Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Social Anxiety: This disorder is different An individual with Social from Social Anxiety because of Anxiety has low self esteem, the root cause of the anxiety. An which may carry over into a individual with Body Dysmorphic disorder has a poor body image. However, it preoccupation on an imagined or is not this poor body image slight defect about their bodies. that makes the individual They become socially anxious socially anxious. It is the because of this preoccupation, phobia of the social situation believing that people are judging itself. This phobia is what their defect and based on this makes them shy away from judgment will not be able to social situation, specifically or accept them socially. in general.
  23. 23. Pervasive Developmental Disorder Examples: Autism and Schizophrenia Pervasive Developmental Disorder: Individuals with a Social Anxiety: developmental disorder may An individual with Social exhibit social disturbances, such Anxiety both knows of and as having trouble engaging in cares about their Social social situations and building Anxiety and withdrawal from relationships. But, this is social situations. It is their because of either a lack of extreme, unrealistic fear of understanding of social the social situations that situation, or because a mental debilitates the individual. disturbance that make it There is not a basic lack of impossible to correctly operate understanding of the social in a social situations. Individuals situation itself. with one of these disorders may not even know they have a social problem, or if they know they may not be able to care.
  24. 24. Separation Anxiety Individuals with Separation Anxiety suffer in some social situations. They may also experience symptoms as extreme as panic attacks when triggered. Separation Anxiety: Social Anxiety: Separation Anxiety may look An individual with like Social Anxiety, but it is the Social Anxiety Disorder root of the anxiety that differs. will always feel a degree of Anxiety caused by this disorder anxiety in social situations is based on the separation of the individual from a person or no matter who or what is thing. However, when the present. Because it is the individual is reunited with the social situation itself that person of thing anxiety is usually is the root cause for the extinguished. For example, an anxiety they exhibit. individual suffering from Separation Anxiety from their parents would not feel anxious in the same social situations if their parents were present.
  25. 25. Panic Disorder Individuals with Panic Disorder experience redcurrant and unpredictable panic attacks. They tend to shy away from certain social situations or situations that could trigger an attack. Panic Disorder Social Anxiety: An individual with Because this disorder sometimes lacks specific Social Anxiety Disorder triggers, a person may experience a panic attack, but the attack is experiencing Panic Disorder brought on by an extreme may become socially phobia of the social anxious with the situation at hand. It is an anticipation of a panic extreme reaction or attack. It is a panic attack symptom of Social itself that makes the person Anxiety, not the reason for feel socially anxious. the Social Anxiety itself.
  26. 26. What are some causes of Social Anxiety?
  27. 27. The Nature Aspect of Social Anxiety Ina Marteinsdottir and her colleges wondered what role genetics played in Social Anxiety.[10] They found that there was a connection between parents who have Social Anxiety Disorder and children who would later develop the disorder. So a genetic link may be a possibility, though most results of current studies are not significant enough to say for sure. [10][9] This is because it is hard to tell is the child learned this disorder from their parents or inherited it. Because studies show the amygdala to be hyperactive within participants with Social Anxiety disorder there is much speculation as to whether this is because of a habitual way of processing information, or if this is due to an inborn trait. Another possibility Dr. Kristensen and Dr. Torstersen set out to test was: What if individuals who suffer from Social anxiety disorder really have a reason to be socially anxious? Such as a developmental deficit or delay?[14] They found that Social Anxiety in children may indeed be linked to subtle deficits in language and motor function. In fact, a long term study that examined children with early language impairment found that this was a large predictor for the development of anxiety disorder later in their adolescence.[16]
  28. 28. The Nurture Aspect of Social Anxiety Bifulia and her team of researchers decided to see how attachment styles to childhood caregivers effected the development of Social Anxiety in adults.[3] They found that certain attachment styles to caregivers was a good predictor of weather an adult would have Social Anxiety. Most often adults with Social Anxiety Disorder suffered from decreased social networks, impaired relationships, and a skewed perception of themselves by being devalued in previous or current social interactions. These adults had exhibited a fearful attachment style, which means they had a conflicting need for intimacy and independence. They wanted to be close to their caregiver, but feared rejection so at the same time they pushed their caregiver away. These Attachment styles usually develop in children when they are traumatized by inconsistent and insensitive parenting (extreme bi-polar parent), or in extreme cases of neglect or abuse. Another aspect of nurture is that perhaps, to some extent, Social Anxiety is self-perpetuating. [20][17][12][11] An individual feels socially anxious and so they are acting under the influence of they anxiety. Because of this they are impaired socially, which gives them more reason to be anxious. The Cognitive Behavioral treatment method is built around this idea.
  29. 29. What are some treatment methods?
  30. 30. Learning to Break the cycle: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy High perceived social Click any box to explore the cycle of standards & poorly defined goals Social Anxiety proposed by Hofmann, citing Heimberg, Beck & Clark. [11] Social apprehension Avoidance and safety Post-event rumination behaviors Heightened self-focused Anticipation of social attention mishap Negative self-perception High estimated social cost Low perceived emotional control Perceived poor social skills
  31. 31. High perceived social standards & poorly defined goals
  32. 32. Social apprehension
  33. 33. Heightened self-focused attention
  34. 34. Negative self-perception
  35. 35. High estimated social cost
  36. 36. Low perceived emotional control
  37. 37. Perceived poor social skills
  38. 38. Anticipation of social mishap
  39. 39. Avoidance and safety behaviors
  40. 40. Post-event rumination
  41. 41. What is Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy?
  42. 42. Medications
  43. 43. How prevalent is Social Anxiety?
  44. 44. Living with Social Anxiety
  45. 45. References: [1] American Psychological Association: Siagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Forth Edition, Text Revition. Washingtion, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000. [2] Ackerman,Sandra, Broll, Sharon, Lamberg, Lynne, MacDonald, Ann, Nadis, Steve, & Parson, Ann (2006). The dana guide to brain health.New York: Dana Press. [3] Bifulco, Antonia, Kwon, Junghye, Jacobs, Catherine, Moran, Patricia, Bunn, Amanda, & Beer, Nils (2006). Adult attachment style as mediator between childhood neglect/abuse and adult depression and anxiety. 41, 796-805. [4] Etkin, Amit, & Wager, Tor (2007). Functional Neuroimaging of Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis of Emotional Processing in PTSD, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Specific Phobia. American journal of psychiatry. 164, 1476-1488. [5] Evans,Karleyton, Wright, Christopher, Wedig, Michelle, Gold, Andrea, Pollack, Mark, & Rauch, Scott (2008). A functional MRI study of amygdala responses to angry schematic faces in social anxiety disorder. 25, 496-505. [6] Fehm,Lydia, Beesdo, Katja, Jacobi, Frank, & Fiedler, Agnes (2008). Social anxiety disorder above and below the diagnostic threshold: prevalence, comorbidity and impairment in the general population. Social psychiatry & psychiatric epidemiology, 43, 257-265. [7] Ferrari, Maria, Busatto, Geraldo, McGuire, Philip, & Crippa, José Alexandre (2008). Structural magnetic resonance imaging in anxiety disorders: an update of research findings. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 30, 251-264.
  46. 46. References: [8] Fontenelle,Leonardo, Domingues, Aline, Souza, Wanderson, Mendlowicz, Mauro, de Menezes, Gabriela, & Figueira, Ivan (2007). History of Trauma and Dissociative Symptoms among Patients with Obsessive-compulsive Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder. Psychiatric quarterly. 78, 241-250. [9] Furmark, Tomas, Henningsson, Susanne, Appel, Lieuwe, Åhs, Fredrik, Linnman, Clas, Pissiota, Anna, Faria, Vanda, Oreland, Lars, Bani, Massimo, Pich, Emilio Merlo, Eriksson, Elias , & Fredrikson, Mats, et. al. (2009). Genotype over-diagnosis in amygdala responsiveness: affective processing in social anxiety disorder. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience. 34, 30-40. [10]Hayward, Chris, Wilson, Kimberly, Lagle, Kristy, Kraemer, Helena, Killen, Joel, & Taylor, C. Barr (2008). The Developmental Psychopathology of social anxiety in adolescents. Depression and anxiety. 25, 200-206. [11]Hofmann, Stefan (2007).Cognitive factors that maintain social anxiety disorder: a comprehensive model and its treatment implications . Cognitive behavioral therapy. 36, 193-209. [12]Kocovski,Nancy, & Rector, Neil (2007). Post-Event Processing in Social Anxiety Disorder: Idiosyncratic Priming in the Course of CBT . Cognitive therapy & research. 32, 23-36. [13]Kolassa,Iris-Tatjana, Kolassa, Stephan, Musial, Frauke, & Miltner, Wolfgang (2007). Event- related potentials to schematic faces in social phobia . Cognition and emotion, 21, 1721-1744.
  47. 47. References: [14]Kristensen,Hanne, & Torgersen, Svenn (2008). Is social anxiety disorder in childhood associated with developmental deficit/delay?. European child adolescent psychiatry. 17, 99-107. [15]Kummer,Arthur, & Harsanyi, Estefania (2008). Flashbacks in social anxiety disorder: Psychopathology of a case. Indian journal of psychiatry. 50, 200-201. [16]Marteindottir, Ina, Svensson, Anna, Svedberg, Marcus, Anderberg, Ulla, & Knorring, Lars (2007). The role of life events in social phobia. Nordic journal of psychiatry. 61, 207-212. [17]Nortje, Charl, Posthumus, Tanya, & Möller, André (2007). Comparison of integrated cognitive restructuring plus exposure with exposure alone in group treatment of generalized social anxiety disorder. Psychological society of South Africa. 38, 647-658. [18]Rosenthal, Jessica, & Katzman, Martin (2007).Beyond shy: When to suspect social anxiety disorder . The Journal of Family Practice, 5, 369-374. [19]Setzer, Nicole, & Salzhauer, Amanda (2001).Understanding why your kids refuse school; prevalence and defining characteristics. Brown university child & adolescent behavior letter [20]Voncken, Marisol, Alden, Lynn, Bögels, Susan, & Roelofs, Jeffrey (2008). Social rejection in social anxiety disorder: The role of performance deficits, evoked negative emotions and dissimilarity . The British Psychological Society, 47, 439-450. [21]TheNational Institute on Drug Abuse, (2008, Jul 22). A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach: Treating Cocaine Addiction. Retrieved Apr 24, 2009, from National Institute of Drug Abuse Web site: http://
  48. 48. Special Thanks to: •  Branch from letting me use your incredible music to set the mood, thank you Jim and Andy! –