Every mental health disorder \u2013 from ADHD to paranoid schizophrenia \u2013 causes problems in the lives of those who suffer from it. Social anxiety disorder \u2013 also known as \u201csocial phobia\u201d \u2013 is no different. The nature of the disorder often includes significant shyness and debilitating fear in all or certain types of social situations. Social anxiety disorder can be particularly disruptive. In fact, if you do not treat your anxiety, the consequences of this disorder can severely impact every area of your life, which can leave you feeling like your life is ruined. You may ask yourself, is social anxiety disorder ruining your life? At Lucida Treatment Center, our anxiety treatment center can help you better cope with your social anxiety. The following are several serious complications that can stem from social anxiety disorder: Difficulty Making Friends Remember the shy kid in grade school? You know, the one that everyone picked on or made fun of because she was really quiet, awkward, and easily embarrassed. Social phobia makes many \u2013 if not most \u2013 social interactions very uncomfortable. The mere thought of meeting new people, being the focus of attention, or speaking in front of others triggers significant anxiety. As a result, like most people with social anxiety, you withdraw and isolate. You become the loner, even though you long for close connections with others. When you do take a risk, the anxiety often undermines your efforts. Clammy hands and blushing give away the nervousness and uncertainty you so desperately want to hide. Others feel uncomfortable because you feel so uncomfortable and awkward. The interaction that may have led to a new friendship instead becomes another painful, embarrassing moment forever etched in your memory. It\u2019s no surprise that you eventually stop trying, resigning yourself to the belief that being alone is just so much easier. But the emotional pain and longing cut deep. This is a signal that you may want to seek a social anxiety disorder treatment center. Damaged Self-Esteem While it could be argued that someone with social anxiety disorder never had high self-esteem to begin with, suffering from the disorder itself also leads to very low self-esteem. After all, it\u2019s hard to feel good about yourself if you never reach your potential in life, have a really hard time making friends, and essentially feel afraid of just about everyone around you. Each humiliating or embarrassing interaction (at least from your standpoint) just reinforces the belief that you\u2019re inadequate, unworthy, and\/or seriously flawed. As you go through life, this belief becomes even more deeply ingrained because you have a long history of \u201cevidence\u201d to back it up. \u201cUnderachiever\u201d Status You may have all the intelligence and talent needed to reach your goals, but your social anxiety constantly holds you back. Maybe you really wanted that promotion but were too scared to even let your boss know that you were interested. So, you were passed over for someone with the confidence and assertiveness you lack. Perhaps you love playing the guitar, singing, or dancing \u2013 but the thought of performing in front of others keeps you paralyzed with fear, so you never try. You have so many dreams \u2013 but they all require you to put yourself out there \u00a0\u2013 and that\u2019s just too terrifying. So, you choose the path of least resistance, the easy road (or so it seems). This gives others the impression that you\u2019re an unmotivated person with zero ambition. Harsh Inner Dialogue If you\u2019re like most people with social phobia, your internal world can get pretty ugly. Self-deprecating thoughts (e.g. \u201cWhy can\u2019t I be like everyone else?\u201d, \u201cWhy didn\u2019t I speak up at work today?\u201d, or \u201cWhy am I such a loser??!\u201d) run rampant through your mind, and the mental self-flagellation is brutal. You are your own worst enemy. Sadly, you find yourself believing the thoughts, which only serve to make you feel more ashamed, uncomfortable, and afraid in future situations. These are the thoughts that fuel your low self-esteem. Our Lucida Treatment Center aims to help you overcome social anxiety and make you more comfortable in social situations. Impaired Social Skills A significant part of developing good social skills comes from interacting with others. We learn and make changes based on the feedback (or rewards\/consequences) we receive. For example, when we act appropriately, we are rewarded with positive interactions from others. When we behave in a way that is awkward, inept, or inappropriate, there are consequences. Granted, it\u2019s not quite so black and white, as accurately interpreting the \u201cfeedback\u201d is easier for some than others. If you struggle from a social anxiety disorder, however, you limit your social interactions. This makes it much more difficult to blossom socially and develop the skills that many people take for granted. Not only that, but your anxiety also creates a vicious cycle. The more fearful you are of doing something wrong or embarrassing, or that might lead to judgment from others, the more likely you are to behave in an awkward or inappropriate way. The negative reinforcement that inevitably follows makes it even more difficult to engage socially. The rewards are so few that it can seem completely futile to even keep trying. If you believe social anxiety may be impacting you, contact our mental health treatment center for help. Skewed Perceptions Since one of the greatest fears of someone with social phobia is being humiliated, scrutinized, or criticized by others, it\u2019s not uncommon to have a distorted view of your interactions with others. For example, you may perceive constructive feedback from your boss as harsh criticism. If you do unintentionally do something silly or amusing that makes those around you laugh, their laughter can be misperceived as making fun of you \u2013 which is humiliating \u2013 rather than simply lighthearted fun. Your hypersensitivity causes you to see everything from a very skewed viewpoint. Things that wouldn\u2019t bother most people feel very uncomfortable or hurtful to you. Difficulties Being Assertive In order to successfully navigate life, we all need some degree of assertiveness. Granted, even people who don\u2019t have social anxiety disorder can be easily intimidated or prefer to avoid even minor confrontations. But with social phobia, asserting yourself can be extremely difficult \u2013 and may even feel impossible. Climbing Mt. Everest would be a much less daunting task than asserting yourself in any social interaction, even though you know that not speaking up or voicing your feelings will have negative consequences. Sadly, lack of assertiveness can lead to relationship problems, lost opportunities, and a whole host of other problems in life. Alcohol And Other Substance Abuse Problems Many people with social anxiety end up with substance abuse issues and need to seek substance abuse treatment programs. Individuals highly abuse alcohol, in particular, because of its disinhibiting effects. Feeling shy?\u00a0 Nervous?\u00a0 Scared? Don\u2019t know what to say? A few drinks may \u201cloosen you up\u201d, and transform you from the scared, deer-in-the-headlights wallflower to social butterfly or even life of the party. At the very least, alcohol may make you feel more at ease at the moment. Sadly, a few drinks can also make you do and say things you regret later, which fulfills your fear of being embarrassed or humiliated. You may use alcohol or other substances to self-medicate the pain of social phobia as well. Anything that provides a temporary escape or helps numb the emotional pain - such as the intense loneliness and low self-esteem \u2013 can easily become a welcome (and dangerous) friend. Over time, what started out as an occasional means of making yourself feel better becomes a regular event \u2013 and may lead to dependence and addiction. Suicidal Thoughts And Behaviors The isolation, low self-worth, and low quality of life that accompany social anxiety disorder can slowly erode the will to keep living. Feelings of hopelessness and depression, which are not uncommon with any serious and chronic anxiety disorder, can trigger suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Andrew Kukes, whose family started the Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety, ended his life in 2009 after suffering from social anxiety disorder and subsequent depression. He was only 30 years old. Andrew\u2019s story is just one example of someone with so much potential, yet sadly paid the ultimate price for years of suffering from social anxiety disorder. Treatment And Hope Like all anxiety disorders, social anxiety is treatable. The results of treatment can vary, depending on many different factors. Some individuals do overcome it, while others learn to manage it well enough so that it no longer rules their life. One of the keys to effective treatment is working with a professional therapist and sticking with the treatment plan. One of the best treatments for social anxiety disorder is a cognitive-behavioral therapy program. This particular therapeutic approach helps you learn how to identify the irrational, maladaptive thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that both cause and exacerbate the anxiety. Once identified, you then begin to change them to ones that are more rational and empowering. As with other phobias, therapy may also include gradually \u201cexposing\u201d yourself (under the guidance of your therapist) to those situations that cause the most anxiety. The goal is to eventually be able to handle those anxiety-provoking situations with ease, using the skills you\u2019ve learned in therapy. In moderate to severe cases of social anxiety, medication may also be necessary for a period of time. However, medication is not recommended as the sole or primary treatment. While it may help reduce symptoms to some degree, it doesn\u2019t address the underlying issues. If you or someone you love is suffering from social anxiety disorder, there is hope. Life is too short to live with many or all of the above complications of this serious disorder. Social anxiety does not have to ruin your life. Get Treatment At Lucida Contact a mental health professional today for an evaluation. Proper treatment for social anxiety disorder can make a world of difference and open up a whole new life that you never dreamed was possible for you. At Lucida, we offer: \tCognitive-behavioral therapy program \tGroup therapy program \tDialectical behavior therapy \tFitness therapy Is social anxiety disorder ruining your life? Get treatment at Lucida Treatment Center by calling .