Social Anxiety Healthy Ways to Treating Fear Essay - 1759 Words

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Social Anxiety: Healthy Ways to Treating Fear

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Social Anxiety: Healthy Ways to Treating Fear

Social Anxiety
Social anxiety disorder is one of the most commonly occurring mental health disorders with a lifetime prevalence rate of 12.1% (Ruscio et al., 2008). Social anxiety has been defined as anxiety resulting from the prospect or presence of person evaluation in real or imagined social situations, in which the person is the focus of attention (e.g., conversations, public speaking; Schlenker and Leary, 1982).

Many Models have been used to describe potential causes and treatments of social anxiety. In 1982, Schlenker and Leary (1982) indentified four categories of models: the social skills deficit model (anxiety is caused by actual lack of adequate social skills), the cognitive self-evaluation model (individual’s perception of skills deficit is more important than actual skill level), the classical conditioning model (anxiety is caused by pairings between aversive social consequences and neutral stimuli), and the personality trait approach (anxiety is caused by underlying individual differences). There has been more recent research that has considered the combination of all the above factors (Heimberg & Backer, 2002; Rapee & Spence, 2004)

Social anxiety is a frequently reported problem among college students, (Purdon, Antony, Monteiro, & Swinson, 2001) regardless of racial-ethnic group membership, nationality, gender, or sexual orientation (Beidel & Turner, 1998; Pachankis & Goldfried, 2006). Results indicated that persons with social anxiety are also more likely to have co-morbid mental health issues (e.g., depression), increases in substance use, and increases in physical disorders (e.g., cardiovascular disease), poor help-seeking behavior, and difficulty with normative transitions (e.g., reduced educational attainment increased teenage childbearing). Furthermore, social anxiety is a significant predictor of both suicidal ideation and actual suicide attempts (Cougle, Keough, Riccardi, & Sachs-Erissson, 2009; Wunderlich, Bronisch, & Wittchen, 1998). Group Therapy

Group therapy has consistently been shown to be at least as effective as individual therapy (McRoberts, Burlingame, & Hoag, 1998; Toseland & Siporin, 1986) and evidence suggest that the issues for which college students often seek help such as anxiety, depression, interpersonal concerns, self-esteem issues are best addressed via group work (Parcover, Bunton, Gehlert, & Mitchell, 2006)

Cognitive-behavioral group therapy is the most widely researched and empirically supported treatment for persons with social anxiety (Herbert et al., 2005). Group therapy is one of many methods to treating anxiety that I will discuss throughout this paper. According to the research done in this particular article, 8 different group sessions were performed each focusing on the particular needs of the students. The students reported a significant increase in their confidence in social settings and a decrease in their feelings of fear in public. This is just more evidence to support the power of groups and how they influence our interactions with others. Internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Internet delivered cognitive behavioral therapy has developed rapidly, and emerging evidence suggest that text-based self-help manuals presented via the internet and supported by therapist feedback can yield reliable improvements in a variety of mental disorders. Not only is this type of therapy cost effective it is great for people living in remote areas, those with irregular or inconvenient work schedules, or for people who fear face to face therapy (The British Journal of Psychiatry, 2009).

In one particular experiment on internet based treatment participants followed a cognitive behavioral self help program in the form of either pure bibliotherapy or an internet based treatment with therapist guidance and online group discussions. A... Show More

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