The prison of Social Anxiety Disorder and it’s difficulties in life!!!

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) has a different characteristic, hence its own label above. The difference with this type of anxiety is that we internalise our world and our place in it. When we internalise our anxiety, we view the cause of concern as being us ourselves, that we are in one way or another, different from other people. In other words, we have too much wrong with us to blend or fit in successfully. Hence, this is known as Social Anxiety Disorder. Our internal belief system about ourselves carries false/inaccurate information leaving us full of self-doubt messages about who and what we are.

The distinguishing threats of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and its internal messages of self -criticism

People see me as stupid, not having much to say, not being educated as much as others. Quiet, boring, not a fun person.

Common issues felt by people living with this condition.

“I feel unable to say much in company and I’d rather listen to others. I feel dread if someone asks ne my opinion because I don’t know how to respond, my words get stuck in my throat and I feel embarrassed, I may even turn bright red in my face and neck. I just don’t have the confidence, that others have. I’d like to interview for a job because I know I would be really good at it but I feel I can’t because I just don’t have the confidence to come across in an interview properly and I’m afraid of going blank and not being able to speak, if asked questions and it’s the same when I meet people I’m attracted to, I just feel tongue tide and then I go bright red, I need to find an escape route quickly.  It takes me a while to get to know people before I feel comfortable in their presence but then I’m already worried that they think I’m a bit stupid before they get to know me.”

Social anxiety disorder is not to be confused with panic disorder. It is related to general anxiety disorder. It can sometimes also be known as social phobia. It stems from interaction with other people and the fear of being judged and criticised. For some young people they may have got involved with other childhood gangs of people and been teased consistently by other kids. Perhaps you had bright red hair awesome kind of affliction.  Vulnerable people who are the victims of some kind of abuse are also easy targets of ridicule by others. This anxiety has wide spreading ramifications and I’ve worked with a small hand full of clients, which have developed body dysmorphia, usually relating to how their face looks. This is where people will see their faces looking distorted. One thing is for sure social anxiety disorder needs to be taken a lot more seriously, with compassion and understanding.

Many an adult has come out with the unhelpful comment, regarding a sensitive or shy youngster by stating “don’t worry, they’ll grow out of it.” You have made the youngster feel that they are not normal!!!!

So, what can the root causes be, because that is where the answers to this awful type of anxiety often lies.

Imagine as a child growing up, you were always criticised or compared to other children who performed better than yourself in certain areas, this could be critical parenting, relatives, and teachers, after all the big grown-ups must be right when they make these judgments.

Now your Self- belief evaluation of yourself is being corrupted when having suffered childhood criticism on a regular basis. It could also stem from sibling rivalry, having a very clever sibling can be a very tough act to follow especially where expectations are put upon us. On speaking of expectations very often the adults IE: our parents’ grandparent’s teachers often have higher expectations of us that we can deliver and therefore perhaps we feel slightly failing or lacking in some ways or not up to scratch, not quite as good as others. This is a disorder that can develop during the first 25 to 30 years of someone’s life, however most sufferers develop this at a much younger age.

Recommended Therapies

Psychotherapies, humanistic therapies such as Person-Centred Counselling and Gestalt therapy. Hypnotherapy and hypno-analysis can very often help with uncovering suppressed root causes. EMDR is also an excellent therapy for producing longer term lasting results when teamed with other major therapies.

My final thoughts on this debilitating type of anxiety are that if we were to compare our instinct deep down, to the inner tribal elders or the inner committee, what would the names of the members be called?

Self-belief, trust, compassion, acceptance, choices and courage with the chairperson sitting on the fence of doubt -known as avoidance.

How does healthy anxiety become unhealthy? How does it manifest in the mind and body?

General Anxiety Disorder & The importance of GABA nutrition?

If a person suffers with an inflamed sympathetic symptom (over-active radar) for six months or more, it is diagnosed as General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). This is because healthy anxiety has become unhealthy and requires intervention treatment. Anxiety can be triggered by a difficult situation that has become out of hand. Different symptoms of general anxiety disorder (GAD) can be negative over-thinking, fears or concern of what can go further wrong in our lives from the environment around us and feelings of being unsafe and insecure. When we live with this type of anxiety, we are externalizing (it normally comes from the outside towards us), the potential threats or actual threat that we have encountered. General anxiety disorder is easily treatable with medical hypnosis, counselling, psychotherapy (if the cause is deep rooted) eye movement desensitisation reprogramming (EMDR).

What are GABA levels and how can they calm anxiety?

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neeurotransmitter that helps the body to relax after stress. Low GABA activity can lead to anxiety, depression, insomnia, and mood disorders. Research shows that people with anxiety and depression are more likely to have low levels of GABA and it is the most common inhibitory neurotransmitter in the human central nervous system. It reduces the ability to receive, create or send chemical messages to other nerve cells. GABA, when at normal levels, produces a calming effect, with a significant role in controlling anxiety, stress, excessive fear, and depression. GABA supplements have shown a very small amount of beneficial promise in treating anxiety and depression. However, it’s important to note that only very minimal amounts of GABA can cross the blood-brain barrier to have any effect on the brain. Research shows that supplements are poor performers. Better success however, is through diet with certain foods can help elevate and improve levels GABA far more effectively. 

So, what does help to maintain GABA at healthy levels

  1. Almonds, walnuts, and other nuts
  2. Whole wheat, barley, rice, and other grains
  3. Beans, peas, and soybeans
  4. Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  5. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, spinach, and cauliflower
  6. Tomatoes and green tomatoes
  7. Mushrooms, especially shiitake
  8. Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, tempeh, and kimchi
  9. Tea, especially oolong and white tea

What is Anxiety? and what purpose does it serve in our body as well as our minds? How and where does it occur?

3D Illustration Concept of Central Organ of Human Nervous System Brain Anatomy

Anxiety is a protective process. It allows us to experience protection from what is unsafe to our well-being, such as, intense heat or cold. In pitch darkness it warns us to not put one foot in front of the other as we can’t see where we’re going. It gives us a feeling of disorientation; its too risky. It stems from one of two areas, the mid brain area (limbic/sympathetic area and the nervous system – sympathetic area). It’s an early warning system which detects anything that may be of threat to our survival. This can range from something small to something extremely threatening.

The scale of the threat, however, can’t always distinguished by the Brain. It often depends on what we can see, hear, sense, or feel. Sometimes anxiety is triggered by something in the present that is perceived to be a threat from past experience, which is similar.

The front of the brain (cortex) can be pictured like the top part of an iceberg. This is responsible for what you’re doing, planning, thinking about, choosing, contemplating. Your everyday thoughts and behaviours. What remains of the iceberg beneath the water’s surface are the different functions for your physical being and automated learnt actions. This includes patterns of behaviour which stem from earlier belief systems, within the older area of the brain.

The brain interprets a potential threat that requires further action. It is sent via the brain stem whose job it is to alert the physical body and prepare the body for defence or action, within the nervous system as depicted in the photo. This occurs via the inflamed sympathetic system / heightened arousal (flight/fight).

A further explanation of fight/flight is the relationship that occurs between the physical body and brain. A dynamic at an unconscious awareness level occurs, and this is known as Neuroception. In other words, we’re unaware that anything is happening until we feel the physical symptoms. Our bodies carry automatic radar (An inflamed Sympathetic system) alerting us with its anxious feelings.

What occurs in the body to alert it to any kind of threat?

When the brain stem becomes involved with a potential threat it alerts the body by triggering the hormone cortisol and boosting the secretion of the adrenaline glands. The impact of this causes a larger flow of blood to the arms and legs in preparation for what we know as fight or flight. This can occur in various stages and fluctuate (Co-regulation). The result of these changes can cause us to start to breathe from higher up in the stomach and limiting the amount of oxygen to the visceral area off the body – our torso. Our heart rate can increase, our throat and mouth feel dry and sometimes our hands and other areas of our bodies feel sweaty.

The term for this is an inflamed Sympathetic system. The good news is that we have a Para-sympathetic system to balance the body again, once the threat has diminished.