Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia) Risk Factors

Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia) Risk Factors

Social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, is a common mental disorder. As many as thirteen percent of people experience some degree of social anxiety during their lifetime. Despite the widespread nature of social phobias, the causes of social anxiety disorder remain unclear.

While social anxiety disorder causes are not fully understood, a wide range of risk factors for social phobia have been identified. The presence of social anxiety disorder risk factors does not mean an individual will necessarily develop the disorder; the presence risk factors indicates that an individual has a slightly higher chance of developing social phobia.

Age, Gender and Social Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders can strike anyone regardless of age or gender, but women tend to exhibit social anxiety symptoms more often than men.

Social anxiety disorder onset is most common in people younger than nineteen. When symptoms of social phobia develop in adulthood, the genesis of the disorder can often be traced back to childhood or adolescence.

Family History and Anxiety Disorders

Social anxiety disorder causes may have a genetic component. The risk of social phobia increases in people whose parents or siblings display social anxiety symptoms.

While a family history of social anxiety could indicate a genetic component of the disorder, it is also possible that family dynamics and attitudes towards social activities are what actually increases one’s risk of developing a social phobia.

Biology and Social Phobia

Biological factors could increase the risk of social anxiety symptoms. Brain imaging studies of social anxiety patients indicate that social phobia sufferers have an overly active amygdala. The amygdala is part of the brain that controls fear responses. In addition to an overactive amygdala, brain imaging also recorded lower than normal activity in the prefrontal cortex of patients with social anxiety disorder. The prefrontal cortex plays a role in social behavior.

Another theory suggests that an imbalance in neurotransmitters causes social anxiety. Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals needed for communication between brain cells. Neurotransmitter imbalances are a suspected cause of depression as well as social anxiety. Imbalances in three neurotransmitters — dopamine, GABA and serotonin — have been identified in social phobia patients.

Environment and Social Phobia

Environmental factors can increase the risk of social phobia. People who experience negative social interactions such as bullying, teasing and rejection are thought to be more at risk of developing social phobia. The risk of social anxiety disorder increases if negative social experiences occur regularly. Traumatic events such as sexual abuse may also increase one’s social anxiety disorder risk.

Another theory speculates that people “learn” social phobias by watching the actions of others. A child might learn to be socially anxious, for instance, by watching a parent who exhibits social anxiety disorder symptoms.

Shyness and Social Anxiety Disorder

Some researchers suggest that shyness and social anxiety disorder are connected, and it’s also been proposed that children who are shy or timid may be more likely to develop social anxiety symptoms.

A similar proposal has been put forth concerning the connection between depression and people who are naturally morose or pessimistic.

Overcoming Social Anxiety Disorder

Whatever causes social anxiety disorder, the condition responds well to treatment. Social phobia is often treated with a combination of medication and therapy, much like generalized anxiety disorder. Successful social anxiety disorder treatment can rarely be accomplished without help: professional care greatly improves the chance of overcoming social anxiety disorder.

Social Anxiety Disorder: More than a Fear of Public Speaking

Social Anxiety Disorder Help

Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is characterized by an unreasonable fear of social situations and social interactions. The fear caused by social anxiety disorder is so intense that people may experience panic attacks when faced with social situations.

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of American, approximately 15 million American adults suffer from social phobia. While social anxiety disorder usually develops in late adolescence or early adulthood, social phobia can occur at any age.

Social Anxiety Disorder Triggers

Social anxiety disorder stems from a fear of being judged or criticized by others. Social phobia sufferers may be afraid that they will make mistakes in public or embarrass themselves. These fears are excessive and often debilitating. The individual may be aware that symptoms of social anxiety are not normal, but is unable to effectively deal with the phobia without social anxiety disorder help.

A person suffering from symptoms of social anxiety disorder may fear either one type of event or multiple social situations. It is more common for social anxiety disorder to apply to multiple social events than a single situation, but cases of social phobias only in a single situation do occur. An intense fear of public speaking, for instant, is a common example of a social phobia.

It’s important to note, however, that merely feeling nervous – or even feeling afraid – about public speaking is not a sign of social anxiety disorder. Many people are nervous when confronted with public speaking, but they are capable of speaking in spite of their fear. A person with social anxiety disorder may have a fear of public speaking so intense that he or she will actively avoid speaking and may suffer panic attacks over the very idea.

Consequences of Social Phobias

The consequences of social anxiety disorder can be devastating. The condition impairs a person’s ability to form meaningful social or romantic relationships.

In its most severe form, a social phobia can make it difficult to leave the house. Low self-esteem, damaged careers and poor quality of life are all social anxiety disorder complications.

Social Anxiety Disorder Help

People who receive treatment for social anxiety disorder often approach doctors for help with other mental conditions. Other anxiety disorders, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder may all be seen alongside social phobia, with the two disorders often exacerbating each other.

Treatment for social anxiety disorder does exist. Medication can help people overcome the symptoms of social anxiety disorder, while therapy helps people learn to change how they think and react in social situations. Social anxiety disorder can be overcome and treated with proper care.

Social Anxiety Disorder Help

There are roughly 20 millions Americans that suffer from some form of social anxiety disorder. The effects of this disorder can be crippling, often leading to social isolation, depression and occasionally suicide. The worst part is that social anxiety typically results in a vicious cycle if help is not sought. If you are suffering from this disorder, here are some ways to help you turn you life around and start fully living again.

Eliminate or Cut Back on Anxiety Inducing Substances

Alcohol can often lead to anxiety and panic attacks especially the day after a night of drinking. It can have negative effects on your nervous system which can make a person feel on edge and can even provoke panic attacks. It’s important to keep this at a minimum to begin reducing your anxiety.

Caffeine is another catalyst for anxiety. If you consume coffee, soft drinks or energy drinks regularly, try to replace those with something more natural and healthy like green tea.

Gradually Expose Yourself To People

If you have been living in relative isolation for an extended period of time because of your social anxiety, then it is important to “get yourself out of your shell”. This is obviously not an easy task at first, but is vital in the recovery process. People tend to avoid social situations because they associate socializing as a negative stimulus. It’s usually not the act of being social that scares the person, it’s the bad emotions that go along with it that causes the person distress.

The trick is to be able to associate socializing as a positive stimulus. Start off slowly by trying to integrate yourself back with an old friend or simply trying to start a conversation with someone you feel comfortable with. Once you have a good experience, you won’t be so hesitant to engage in another social situation down the road. This process will gradually get you back in the swing of dealing with people.

Study How to Effectively Communicate

There are a countless number of books out there that deal with this subject. Learn how to read people’s body language and how to engage in the art of conversation. The more prepared you are for social interaction, the less threatening it will become. This will help build your confidence and aid you in becoming a better speaker.

Seek Professional Help

Most of the time, people can make a positive transition on their own if allowed enough time. However, some circumstances need the help of a psychologist or therapist for recovery. If you feel that you just cannot work through your social anxiety on your own, then find a professional to help you get started.

Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse

Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse

Alcoholism is a disease process that causes physical dependence on alcohol. The alcoholic continues to drink in spite of the negative consequences caused by continued use. Social and physical problems begin to mount until they become problematic. Alcohol abuse is the use of alcohol to extremes without the dependence, although the social and health problems may still be an issue. Alcoholism is a treatable disease. The most common form of treatment is group therapy in a residential rehab facility. Medications to relieve cravings and underlying mental and emotional issues have become popular.

Signs of Alcoholism

Before treatment, the alcoholic must admit they have a drinking problem. The closer they get to rock bottom, the easier it is to talk them into seeking help. Knowing the signs of alcoholism aids in identifying the problem, some signs of alcoholism are:

  • solitary drinking
  • unable to stop drinking, after the first one
  • blacking out
  • losing interest in activities and hobbies
  • compulsion to drink
  • irritability when needing a drink
  • keeping extra alcohol hidden
  • becoming intoxicated to feel good or drinking to feel “normal”
  • legal problems
  • problems with relationships
  • developing a tolerance to alcohol
  • physical withdrawal symptoms if you don’t drink

Alcohol abuse may cause some of the same signs as dependence, but the compulsion to drink and physical withdrawals are absent. The alcoholic can’t control their drinking but the abuser can control it.

Reasons For Alcoholism

Alcoholism is insidious in its onset. Gradually, alcohol causes a chemical imbalance in the brain. Drinking increases dopamine levels, which is responsible for the pleasurable effects of alcohol. Alcohol eventually depletes the dopamine in the brain and more alcohol is needed to feel the euphoric effect. This lack of dopamine is responsible for the cravings experienced by the alcoholic.

Genetics also plays a role in alcoholism. Children of alcoholic parents are more prone to have drinking problems. Genetic inclination along with the lack of coping skills can increase the risk even more. Emotional instability and stress contribute to the problem considerably. Low self esteem, associating with people that drink, and glamorizing the act of drinking, lowers an at risk individuals inhibitions, leading to alcoholism.

Treatment Options for Alcoholics

Due to denial, alcoholics seldom seek treatment on their own. Intervention by family members or friends may be required to persuade them to seek help. Issues that are caused by alcohol addiction must be addressed. Liver disease is a common problem. Tests should be performed to rule out pathology of the liver.

The Symptoms of Alcohol Induced Pancreatitis

Alcohol Induced Pancreatitis

Alcohol abuse can be associated with a number of conditions and one of these is pancreatitis; an inflammation of the pancreas. Some heavy drinkers may suffer an episode of acute pancreatitis but if they alter their drinking habits they might never need to deal with the problem again. Others will have repeated episodes of acute pancreatitis which can eventually lead to the chronic disease process. In order to prevent the development of acute alcohol induced pancreatitis into a chronic condition it needs to be treated in a timely manner and lifestyle modification need to occur; for this to happen the symptoms of alcohol induced pancreatitis will first need to be recognized.

The Symptoms of Alcohol Induced Pancreatitis

The initial symptoms of alcohol induced pancreatitis can be quite mild and it might be easy to dismiss them as something minor. The first noticeable symptom is likely to be pain which occurs in the centre of the upper abdomen. This might just start off as a nagging pain but as time goes on it is likely to get more severe; eventually this can get so bad that it will be impossible to ignore. The most intense pain may be experienced after eating food and the pain. As well as abdomen pain the individual experiencing symptoms of alcohol induced pancreatitis may also have the following symptoms;

  • Back pain
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Jaundice (the skin and eyes may appear yellow)
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea

Heavy drinkers who experience the early signs of pancreatitis might not seek help until things get really bad; this can be dangerous and possibly life threatening.

How to Deal With the Symptoms of Alcohol Induced Pancreatitis

Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Left untreated it is possible for pancreatitis to lead to sepsis, severe hypotension (a drop in blood pressure to dangerous levels), or even failure of multiple organs followed by death. The treatment of acute pancreatitis needs to occur under medical supervision. The goal will be to keep the person fasting so as to not put further strain on the pancreas; intravenous fluids will be given to keep the patient hydrated. Medical staff will monitor to ensure that the person does not deteriorate and will do all they can to support the other organs in the body. Pain medication will be offered so as to keep the patient as comfortable as possible.

The symptoms of alcohol induced pancreatitis should always be taken seriously as this is potentially a life threatening condition. Once acute pancreatitis is treated lifestyle modification needs to occur in order to prevent the development of chronic pancreatitis.

The Hangover: How to Cure That Morning After Feeling!

get rid of hangover

Nothing say’s a good night out like the resulting hangover the next morning. Furthermore, everyone has been there. If being drunk can make the night, the hangover the ensuing morning can break the next day, and often, it can seem like there is no cure for the throbbing headaches, the boozy breath, the sickening nausea.

Responses to that Morning After Feeling

Obviously the level of the hangover depends just what was consumed the night before, but it is safe to say everyone responds to them differently. Some people find themselves crippled the morning after, unable to leave the bed/sofa/floor – wherever it was they dropped at the end of the night. Others will ‘man-up’ and power on through with their day, pushing the hangover to the backs of their minds and suffering in silence. Others still find their hangovers nothing but a mild irritation, and can happily go about their day uninterrupted, when by all rights they should be tucked up tight in bed. Everyone responds to that morning after feeling differently.

How to Cure the Hangover – Food and Drink

I will not go into lengthy detail explaining the cause of hangovers, as nobody is here to read about that. It is how to cure that morning after feeling that is the focus of this article. As differently as everybody responds to their hangovers, they also have their own methods of dealing with them. Some of these are tried and tested, others based on scientific knowledge, others revolve entirely around personal beliefs and preferences. Water, water, water, and plenty of it. Water intake replaces that lost during the night and encourages the healthy metabolism of cells. Essentially, water is a great healer, and should not be underestimated when an individual is hungover.

How others Find Drinking

Unfortunately, some people find drinking too much water too quickly the morning after encourages them to be sick. The water ‘bounces.’ This danger is one to be watched out for. Take small sips of water regularly to wash away that morning after feeling and help cure the hangover.Food is another potential cure for the hangover. Some people find they wake up with a hankering some greasy fry-ups, others prefer the solidity of bread and toast to soak up the alcohol inside them and help regain some feeling of normality. The morning after is as risky for food as it is for water, however, with the same potential threat of sickness. Therefore small breakfasts are advisable, because they will fill the individual up and feel satisfying without overloading an already vulnerable stomach.

Fresh Air

Fresh air can help cure a hangover by clearing the mind, and the physical exercise involved by taking this fresh air is also beneficial. Some people find it massively helpful to get out of bed, out of the house and get fresh air into their system. Of course, others would rather just stay in bed and sleep off the rest of their hangover!

If in Doubt of a Way to Cure that Hangover

Pain-relieving tablets will banish even the most persistent hangovers. Pop a couple with a glass of water and wait as the cure for your hangover gets into the system. Within no time at all, the individual will feel their headaches lessen enough that they can do something productive with their day, turning their morning after into a saved day!

More and More Successful Young Czech Women Addicted to Alcohol

women drinking

“Some of the women I treat [many of them already lower level managers] are only 25 years old or so,” a private local therapist Renáta Schubertová told Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes, and Petr Popov, head of the Addictions Cure department at Prague’s Vseobecná fakultní nemocnice hospital, agrees: “Their age is indeed going down, in the past, the youngest were between 30 and 40.”

Schubertová names commercials as one of the reasons behind the rising number of young females dependent on drinking. “The thing is that the ads often combine alcohol and the subsequent feeling of ease with success,” she points out.

The therapist is surprised at how low her young patients think of themselves, being convinced they are ugly, fat and in general no good. The problem of these women, she believes, is in many cases that they are not doing what they would like to, succumbing to the wishes of their parents instead.

Schubertová on the other hand sees one positive factor as far as female alcoholics are concerned – they are more than their older counterparts willing to undergo counselling.

Wine Most Popular Alcohol Among Czech Women

The exact number of young female alcoholics in this Central European country is unknown but almost ten percent of its women in general, according to a survey conducted by Ladislav Czémy from Prague Psychiatric Centre, have such problems. More and more have recently started to frequent bars and pubs but most still drink secretly, in other words at their homes.

The type of drink these females most often consume is wine but more and more popular has in recent years also become beer. Czech Republic has in fact the highest overall (men and women) per capita consumption of beer in the world, around 160 litres a year, and local experts consider as one of the reasons that alcohol here is not very highly taxed so this beverage from hops and malt is often less expensive than the usual soft drinks.

Many Czech females also become addicted to alcohol because they have no partner – or do but the relation is a highly unsatisfactory one.

Renáta Schubertová (48), who worked for ten years with women who drink too much at Prague’s Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital, had herself at one time been addicted as well. In the past 20 years, however, she has not consumed a drop of either beer and wine or any kind of spirits.

Food Addiction and Obesity Go Hand in Hand

food addiction

When you think of the word addiction you think of alcohol and drugs, even sex. No one ever wants to acknowledge that the most dangerous drug anyone can ever be addicted to is food. It is the one drug that you can never completely give up because without it you can not survive. It is the reason why one of the top five topics of discussion in society today is the epidemic of obesity and how it has been on the rise in the U.S. for the past 20 years.

Society is quick to conclude that those who are obese don’t care enough about their condition to really try and do something about it. However, studies are now showing that a possible and feasible explanation for those that have become obese is because of an addiction to food.

What exactly is food addiction?

Simply put it is an unhealthy relationship with food. There is not just one cause and there is not any simple solution. Those with a food addiction have an unhealthy relationship with food and are eating for all of the wrong reasons. They eat for comfort or to numb their feelings of depression or loneliness. They sometimes eat because they don’t feel good about themselves or even out of guilt for overeating. At times they develop an obsession with food for the sheer ability to have control over something in their lives.

Food addiction results in obesity

While society would like to believe that food addiction is something made up simply to excuse the behavior of those obese, there are in fact studies that show that this addiction does in fact have merit. According to Dr. Valerie Taylor, who is an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at McMaster as well as the director of the Bariatric Surgery Psychiatry Program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, compulsive and out of control tendencies to eat play a fundamental role in causing obesity (Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ)).

Of approximately two thirds of the adults in the United States that are overweight, more than 72 million of them are considered to be obese. According to the American Obesity Association, approximately 64.5% of adult Americans are categorized as being overweight or obese. It is a disease that causes at least 300,000 premature deaths in the U.S. every year.

Signs that you may be addicted to food

  • Obsessively thinking about food (preoccupation with it)
  • The continuous urge to eat
  • Eating when you are feeling depressed
  • Eating in secret
  • Eating when you are not hungry
  • Eating food regardless of the knowledge that it’s bad for you
  • Feeling guilty about eating
  • Unable to stop the destructive eating patterns

Things you can do to curb your urge for unhealthy eating

  • Don’t mask your emotion; deal with them head on
  • Instead of eating, go workout at the gym
  • Do work and keep busy
  • Watch television or a movie
  • Call a friend and talk about what you’re feeling

For people who are suffering from food addiction it is a constant struggle to battle the urge to eat when they know they are not hungry. The struggle comes in not allowing food to be used as their crutch. To simply acknowledge that they have a problem with food is not going to stop them from eating emotionally. A person with a food addiction has to reevaluate his relationship with food and reexamine the reasons why he is eating uncontrollably.

There is no 12-step program that people who have a food addiction can go to. There are no sponsors and no psychiatric drug to subside the urges to eat. The decision to change the way they relate to food is solely up to them. It is a battle that has yet to be won.

Chocolate addictions: Could your occasional chocolate addiction actually be good for you?


Dark chocolate, and in particular the cocoa in the chocolate, has exhibited significant health benefits in the last decade in numerous clinical studies. Cocoa is high in polyphenols, substances which help to lower inflammation in the body, boost the immune system, and scavenge free radicals. Just recently a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that cocoa also helps to lower blood pressure.

What are Polyphenols

Polyphenols are a type of bioflavonoid that we normally associate with fruits and vegetables, not chocolate. But what we often forget is that chocolate does come from a plant. But by the time it reaches our mouths it has been processed and things like milk, fat, and sugar have been added to make it more enjoyable to our palate.

Chocolate, or cocoa in its original form, contains more than 60% of procyanidins. This particular type of polyphenol is not present in as high amounts in teas, fruits or vegetables, and it appears this type is the most effective on blood pressure.

Measuring the Effect

To measure the effect of polyphenols on blood pressure researchers compared the regular use of black tea, green tea, and cocoa on blood pressure. They found that cocoa, consumed regularly for two weeks lowered blood pressure to the same degree of prescription medications. Black tea and green tea did not have such an effect.

The authors concluded that cocoa’s effect on blood pressure could have a dramatic impact on cardiovascular health and deaths due to stroke and heart attack. They estimated a potential decrease of 10-20 percent risk of stroke and heart attack.

But reader beware. Cocoa is the active agent here, not chocolate. Read the ingredient list on your favorite chocolate bar or treat and you will see that cocoa is farther down than you would expect. However, this can be remedied for chocolate lovers by seeking out the dark chocolate bars.

Some makers of chocolate bars will offer a 70-85 percent cocoa bar with minimal added sugar and fat. Using bulk chocolate may also be an option, again opting for the dark variety.

White Chocolate

And make sure to avoid white chocolate. Because even though the flavor is excellent, white chocolate has had virtually all the polyphenols removed. Because of its relatively low polyphenol content, it does not offer any of the health benefits mentioned above.

Please remember the health benefits of dark chocolate are found in moderation. Excess consumption of dark chocolate on a daily basis may lead to weight gain and an increase in body fat. But when eaten in moderation, the health benefits are very apparent.

Pornography Addiction and Recovery: Abstain From Pornography

pornography addiction

Pornography addiction recovery is indeed very important, because pornography is now posing a threat to many people. During the early part of the 20th century, a person had to secretly look to buy adult videos, and such an individual was often frowned upon.

Today, pornography literally looks for the people. Innovational technologies such as television and the internet are catalysts for pornography. Pornography literally saturates the internet nowadays, and everyone can easily be exposed to it.

Many children are often bombarded by illicit pornographic pop-ups when researching essays or doing homework online. Pornographic sites are becoming so prevalent that anyone can easily gain access to them. Many people are now addicted to pornography, and are seeking help.

How the Addiction Begins

The majority of people who are addicted to pornography were exposed to it at a very young age—usually between eight to 14 years old. At this age, the brain is not fully accustomed to sexual desires yet. As a result, the illicit images of pornography are tattooed into the brain.

During the first glance and experience of pornography, the person may get a strong feeling of arousal, and satisfaction. It is somewhat similar to how drugs work: the feeling and satisfaction are often very great during the first time. Eventually, the individual starts developing tolerance,which means that they need more of the pornographic content to get that same feeling again.

Now the person will start going through a cycle of watching pornography. The person will often seek out opportune times to watch it, usually when alone. This then becomes a habit, and then evolves into an addiction.

Eventually the addict will start to realize the negative effects of pornography: hurtful conscience, abnormal sexual urges, and the fear of being caught. Therefore the individual starts to look for ways to quit the addiction. Sadly, it is often too late when most people when start to look for addiction recovery, because the brain is now programmed to watch it.

The Effects of Pornography on the Brain

In order to quit pornography, it is essential to know about its effect on the brain. Pornography primarily the affects the limbic system part of the brain, which is basically the part of the brain that acts by instinct. The limbic system is that part of the brain that reacts by instinct, and enables humans to survive.

When people feel hungry, their mouths will start to secrete fluids to prepare for digestion. When people feel cold, their skin pores expands to absorb more heat, and the body shivers to generate heat through mechanical energy. All of these things are not voluntary; they are done by instinct alone. The limbic system of the brain looks for ways to survive various situations.

When the brain is programmed to watch pornography, the limbic system now thinks that pornography essential for the body. Therefore when the individual is tired, sad, and aroused, pornography immediately comes into mind.