Monday, March 16, 2015
Last October, my college classmate (and 7th grade classmate), Dr. Robert Leahy, a prominent cognitive psychologist, posted a column on dealing with social anxiety. He defines social anxiety disorder this way:
If you find yourself inhibited and anxious in a variety of social situations (speaking in front of a group, meeting new people, using public lockers or rest rooms, eating in public) and you fear that people will see your anxiety and that you will feel humiliated, then you may suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder. Many people with this problem will choose to avoid situations where they anticipate being anxious or they may use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate before entering these situations. Social anxiety is associated with increased risk for alcohol abuse, depression, loneliness, decreased occupational advancement and the increased likelihood of remaining single.
This description may fit us and some of our students. We may encounter it with students who are afraid to speak up in class or to talk with their professors, or to network in a social gathering. In this lengthy and helpful posting, Dr. Leahy offers suggestions on how to deal with the problem (here).