Social Anxiety

“What is Social Anxiety?”

An interesting point about social anxiety as it appears in different populations.

Khazan: Has there been a rise in social anxiety, with social media and people interacting more through their computers?

Hofmann: It’s impossible to tell, because the definition of social anxiety disorder changes, and depending on how you define it, you’ll get different rates of prevalence.

We do know, however, that there are interesting differences between cultures, which tells you a little bit about how society also shapes and influences that. We know that [some] Asian cultures, such as Japan and China, report social anxiety disorder less often. In more collectivist cultures, where the individual is not in the center, social anxiety disorder is less of a problem. In individualistic cultures, where it’s important that you are your own, unique person, in those cases social anxiety becomes more of a problem. So Western cultures report the higher prevalence rates of social anxiety disorder. Even within the U.S., Asians report lower rates, whites report the highest rates, and Hispanics and African Americans are in between. So that has to do with the setting, the cultural background, family relationships, and the like.

^Or Asians just report it less…

Take Away: Cognitive behavioral therapy is more effective than medication treatment.

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6 thoughts on “Social Anxiety

  1. This is an interesting segment you’ve highlighted. Obviously there are so many factors to consider when it comes to mental illness, but cultural upbringing and values are certainly up there! You’ve actually piqued my curiosity enough to want to read more into this. Great post!

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  2. I definitely agree that the statistics for Asians and the prevalence of social anxiety is not accurate. I do get the sense it’s unreported less in Asian populations, and maybe I feel this way because I have had this experience myself (with being Asian and having social anxiety).

    I don’t even think my parents fully understand what is social anxiety, and that it’s a real thing. No, instead, I had the displeasure once of hearing my mom talk about me on the phone to her aunt and state that I’m “afraid of people”.

    On the topic of mental health in general, this is something I strongly believe is not discussed or not brought up in the older generation of Asians because they themselves did not have the experience of learning about it in their own generation.

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    1. Hi, thanks for sharing. Yes, definitely East Asian countries, especially in the older generations, don’t talk about mental health.

      I am sorry to hear it seems to have added some distress to your own mental health experiences. It’s hard enough coping with our own mental health, and it doesn’t help when those closest to you don’t understand.

      Hopefully, Asians like you will lead this generation and the next towards a new direction where we can talk more openly about mental health. Even in America, there’s still stigma against mental illnesses. We’ve all got to be pioneers in this field, just in a way that’s specific for our culture and environment.

      Best of wishes to you~

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      1. I’ve only managed to tell my brother that I have social anxiety, and I did this after he confronted me about why I am still unemployed (which I have been for the last 3 years after graduating from school). I still live with my parents, and he still lives here too, so in a household like this, it’s hard to have any privacy. I hate that I’m still financially dependent on my parents. It somewhat helps that my brother knows about my SA and it’s made him stop asking me all the time about how my job search is going and stuff, probably because he knows him asking me that so frequently is giving me a lot of pressure to find a job asap. Right now it’s not really about finding my dream job because I hardly have any experience besides volunteer stuff. I would be happy to even get a temp job as a cashier or some kind of job where I can just gain experience. At the same time, it makes me uncomfortable that my brother knows I have SA because I don’t know how much he actually knows about SA. He knows I’ve been going to some social anxiety meetups and getting exposure, though.

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