Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), or social phobia is the extreme fear of being scrutinized and judged by others in social or performance settings. As it can take a toll on your personal and professional life, it is important to seek professional help and use strategies to minimize its negative impacts.
Seek help: Without proper treatment, SAD can severely impair your quality of life. Unfortunately, the very nature of the disorder makes it difficult to ask for help. If even approaching a friend, family member or your doctor seems too overwhelming, look to confidential counseling and try to contact them via email.
SAD and Your Career: A strong relationship has been found between SAD and lower educational attainment, reduced employment opportunities, lower income, and dependence on social assistance. If you are in a competitive workplace and feel that your anxiety is interfering with your career advancement, it is worth investing some time in developing a comfort level with the social aspects of work.
Relationships: SAD can take a toll on your relationships with others. It can affect your ability to make friends and to find a romantic partner. Some people who have SAD also suffer from a deficit in social skills. Fortunately, social skills can be learned as part of a social skills training program sometimes incorporated with treatment.
Performances issues: If you suffer from SAD and are involved in some sort of performing arts, chances are that you have battled nerves on stage or during a competition. Although some anxiety about performing is normal and may even enhance your performance, excessive anxiety is not helpful. There are options to overcome your fears and reach your full potential, but you need to make it a priority to get your anxiety under control.
In the end, only you can decide how best to live with SAD. Many people find it difficult to live completely without social anxiety, they should strive to achieve a balance in which anxiety does not negatively affect their daily functioning or place limits on what they can achieve.