Since the name “social phobia” appeared in the then authoritative DSM-III diagnostic manual in 1980, the debate on the relationship between “introversion” and “social anxiety disorder” (this is the name of “social phobia”) has not stopped.
In the past 30 years or so, the diagnostic criteria for [social anxiety disorder] have been changing. According to epidemiological statistics, most people have symptoms of social anxiety disorder.
The latest change occurred in DSM-5, the authoritative diagnostic manual for mental diseases. It defines social anxiety disorder as: [persistent fear, anxiety or avoidance for at least 6 months].
Some people think that psychiatrists are really insane and have to describe their natural personality as a mental disorder and label it negatively. Others speculate that [introversion] and [social anxiety disorder] may be the same thing, but it is only a matter of degree.
What the hell is going on? According to the current research results in the field of psychiatry, in general, there are several points:
Introversion and social anxiety disorder are two different things.
Introversion is indeed a natural personality trait. It is not a disease or a bad thing.
Many people really think so. Although they are naturally introverted, they have a normal life. They do not feel [shy] that it is not good to have what, nor do they feel sad and have a bad evaluation of themselves like patients with social anxiety disorder.
Although it is true that some patients with social anxiety disorder are naturally introverted and shy, this does not mean that people who are naturally introverted are more likely to suffer from social anxiety disorder.
Is Social Anxiety Disorder [Too Introverted]?
Not all patients with social anxiety disorder are naturally introverted.
Patients are only limited by their fear of social intercourse and cannot live the life they want until their illness is controlled.
And when they tide over the difficulties, they can return to the center of the stage that attracts people’s attention and happily attend various parties.
There is a difference between introversion and social anxiety disorder:
- Introversion: In public or when communicating with others, Feeling worried, resisting, unable to speak, or a mixture of these feelings, and worrying about other people’s evaluation. These manifestations are only manifestations of personality traits, which can make people feel social anxiety. They may be unable to speak, stutter and do not know how to say what well. However, we need to know that this personality trait also has a name: stable temperament.
- Social anxiety disorder: When public speaking or interpersonal communication is required, Feel intense nervousness, fear, embarrassment, shame and anger, Strong enough to completely avoid such occasions, Or even in that situation, the pressure they feel can kill them. Excessive tension and fear make people avoid behavior, even if they were willing to participate in things, now they have to avoid. Social anxiety disorder is not a [normal] personality trait, it is a kind of anxiety disorder and needs professional help.
In fact, introverts do not necessarily feel their personality traits [bad], but patients with social anxiety disorder do not positively evaluate their characteristics.
From [Social Anxiety] to [Social Anxiety Disorder]
Everyone may have experienced the feeling of social anxiety, but transient performance is not enough to make a person diagnosed as [sick].
Think about how much waste of resources will be caused if every naturally introverted person needs [treatment]. Moreover, no one or organization has ever had the right to stipulate which character is [normal].
However, people who suffer from repeated social anxiety symptoms are indeed very painful. If we set the diagnostic criteria too high, they may not get the help they deserve.
Social anxiety is the feeling of fear, worry, depression, embarrassment and humiliation triggered by events in daily life. Anxiety brings great psychological pain to the experiencers. In order to avoid the strong fear and uneasiness, they will avoid the situation that has caused them to have such experiences before.
When a person’s social anxiety is serious to a certain extent, it is called “social anxiety disorder”. This regulation of “severity” will naturally affect the incidence of social anxiety disorder. According to different versions of the definition of “severity”, the incidence rate of social anxiety disorder can range from less than 2% to as high as 20%.
Introversion and social anxiety are two different things
So, is slight social anxiety the same as introversion?
Judging from the current research results, neither is the same in degree nor essence.
On the one hand, if [introversion] and [social anxiety disorder] are only different in degree, then all patients with social anxiety disorder should be introverted first.
However, this is not the case. According to the research results, introverted social anxiety disorder patients account for only about half of the total number of patients.
Do introverted people experience social anxiety? No, 70% of introverts don’t think socializing is a frightening, disturbing or stressful thing. They just don’t want to get in touch with people so much.
On the other hand, in essence, the diagnostic points of social anxiety disorder include some traits that are not common to introversion:
- Social anxiety disorder usually occurs at the same time as anxiety disorder, depression, dysthymia and other mental disorders, all of which need regular treatment. Social anxiety disorder makes patients bear the great influence of strong avoidance behavior on their lives, while people who are purely introverted do not feel that their own characteristics make them suffer. The quality of life of patients with social anxiety disorder is obviously affected by the disease condition, which is not an influence of personality traits.
[Introversion] and [social anxiety disorder] were once confused, but now it has been determined that they are not directly related.
Introversion and social anxiety are both of different degrees, but no matter how light or heavy they are, they are essentially two different things.
If you feel that communicating with others makes you under great pressure and affects your life, work and study, then this is more like a [morbid] social anxiety disorder than a [normal] introversion.
Patients whose severity of social anxiety meets the diagnostic criteria for disorder are more likely to perform poorly in interpersonal communication, studies and career than ordinary people (including introverts), and are more likely to worry, feel uneasy and nervous.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (a psychotherapy method) is recommended as the treatment method, It is especially suitable for patients with mild and severe generalized anxiety. If the symptoms are serious, doctors may supplement some drugs with psychological treatment. We will not take drugs for a lifetime. After our own efforts to adjust and the professional help of therapists and doctors, we are expected to stop taking drugs eventually.
There is nothing wrong with introversion.
Introverted character has its own advantages and does not need treatment. What needs treatment and intervention is social anxiety, which is serious enough to affect life.