Do you know anyone who suffices from social anxiety disorder? If you are not sure what it is, it's a fear or apprehension of being around other people. This can be a debilitating thing for some folks, and even cause outright panic attacks in others. Mostly it causes people to become systematic and avoid others near to the point of being hermits, which is a frightening situation for them indeed.

We all feel at some point in our lives that we're being judged, it's pretty hard not to in some cases such as our jobs. But if you have social anxiety disorder it's more like you feel as if you are being evaluated, judged, and maybe even humilated by everyone around you. When they are by themselves they feel just fine, but even the thought of having to go out in public can cause a fearful reaction.

How widespread is social anxiety disorder? Exact figures are uncertain, but some calculate that it's the third most common psychological disorder in the country behind only depression and alcoholism. At any one time, approximately 7-8% of the population suffers from this common syndrome. The worst part is, many never seek help until their lives become too difficult to manage, which in certain cases is very late in life.

What are the symptoms of social anxiety disorder? In many people they include things such as racing heartbeat, sweating, clammy hands, and genuine feeling that something really bad is about to happen. They know in their minds that this is not a rational fear, but nonetheless it looks very real while it's happening to them.

The good news is there is help in overcoming social anxiety disorder with certain types of behavioral therapy. Of course the main thing is to recognize the problem first, and identify it so that it can be treated. In many cases this disorder is not identified correctly or is brushed off as something that a person should just “deal with” themselves. This is not the correct way to treat it. Going to a qualified psychologist or therapist is the best way to cope with social anxiety, and they use something called cognitive-behavioral therapy in most cases. Practicing real life situations that make a person fearful in public, only while in a private setting, can gradually help them overcome their fears. Also for many a group therapy setting is very conducive to overcoming these fears, since they are aware that other people are feeling the same thoughts and working together to resolve the problem. Either way, find something that works best for you and deal with the problem as soon as possible.