Social Anxiety Vs General Anxiety? - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Social Anxiety Vs General Anxiety?


What do you personally believe? Is there a real distinction between them or is it just splitting hairs? I know it's easy enough to look up the official position on it and read studies and definitions and so forth. I'm asking people what they actually believe based upon their own life experience.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 02:32 AM
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I think people are just afraid of different things. Anyone who is afraid of the judgment of others, to the point that it interferes with their life, is going to be diagnosed with SA. They're going to have a lot of similar behaviors because they're scared of the same kind of stimulation. Arachnophobes are all going to have similar behaviors, too, and those behaviors are going to differ from the behaviors of a person who's afraid of heights. The behaviors of a social phobe and an arachnophobe differ because the objects they fear differ. You can call these different disorders if you want, but I'm not sure there's much difference between them beyond the way the object impacts their behavior. GA is probably just a more generalized kind of fear of "what could happen".

If I were to be diagnosed, I'd probably be diagnosed with SAD, despite the fact that I don't really feel like that's my problem. I'm afraid of physical violence, and I'm afraid of the OCD that it triggers; it keeps me away from people; but they'll probably diagnose my behavior, not the reason for it. I could probably have a diagnosis for complex PTSD, since I have all the symptoms, but I don't have any memory of a specific trauma, so I wouldn't get the diagnosis. Even though I think it fits better than SAD. They might give me GAD instead, even though I don't think it really fits, since I never worry about all kinds of things I could be worrying about.

Another example: I meet the criteria for BDD, but the diagnosis hinges on the incredibly subjective decision whether or not I'm actually ugly enough for my feelings to be justified. Maybe it's just my gender dysphoria; but then, half the trans community seems convinced I'm not even trans. So what are you going to do? There isn't a single diagnosis that fits me perfectly; I seem to be missing some important element from all of them. But I'm a complete ****ing disaster. Depending on the therapist, I could get diagnosed with half a dozen disorders or none at all. If it's that subjective, what are they actually diagnosing?

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 03:17 AM
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Fairly easy to distinguish between the two, one is pretty much confined to social situations. You can have both, obviously, but yeh.

As to what's "underlying" it, the cause, it doesn't matter really because treatments are just treating symptoms and behaviours anyway.

Is there a real distinction between them? Define real distinction. But yeh, that one is quite tightly limited to social situations it makes sense to call it a different thing, it would be a waste of resources to give treatments for GAD when the problem is limited to social scenarios. Not that there is really treatment for GAD, but imagine there was lol (operating in the imaginary world where there are efficatious treatments for anxiety problems).

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 04:37 AM
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All types of anxiety share some of the same symptoms, but the cause isn’t always the same. Two people with social anxiety could have a lot of the same symptoms as each other, but feel them in different situations or at different times, and they still have the same disorder.

When I think of general anxiety, I think of someone who would feel anxious in a lot of different situations that don’t have anything to do with being around other people, and sometimes without there needing to be a cause. It might be hard to tell the difference between general anxiety and OCD for some people, and they could have both as well as social anxiety.

I don’t think I have general anxiety, but sometimes I feel anxious for no reason.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 05:51 AM
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I think there's a distinct difference between the two. Social anxiety is pretty obviously more in a social setting - where there's a fear of being judged negatively. It will vary between people as far as severity etc and the types of circumstances - but it's to do with what other people think of us. For me it's always been a fear of actually even appearing to be embarassed or anxious - as well as the actual embarassment and anxiety itself.

I've known a few other people that have bipolar disorder - and they'll say things like my anxiety was really bad today. I'd say their anxiety is far more generalised - there's no mention of any social setting whatsoever. And these people usually have families, often jobs and friends etc. It doesn't limit their social lives in the same way that social anxiety often does.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 08:15 AM
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Gad bleeds into Sad but SAD doesn't bleed into GAD
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 08:15 AM Thread Starter
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Speaking for myself, I can remember even as a very young child if I would see a neighbor on a ladder I would sit there and watch and worry they were gonna fall for however long it took before they came down. I suppose it would be normal to say "Oh, I hope he doesn't fall" but to sit there for hours because you can't stand to think someone will fall and there won't be anyone to get help is not really normal.

I would be very surprised if most people who have SA don't have similar stories from their young years. I can remember so many times when I was a kid when I was always thinking something bad was gonna happen any second. And it wasn't really a PTSD type of thing either. I had so many nightmare scenarios in my head that just came out of nowhere. Hardly nothing bad ever happened that I was ever aware of when I was that young. It was just what my mind wanted to do with itself.

I was always a generally nervous person.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillYouStopDave View Post
Speaking for myself, I can remember even as a very young child if I would see a neighbor on a ladder I would sit there and watch and worry they were gonna fall for however long it took before they came down. I suppose it would be normal to say "Oh, I hope he doesn't fall" but to sit there for hours because you can't stand to think someone will fall and there won't be anyone to get help is not really normal.

I would be very surprised if most people who have SA don't have similar stories from their young years. I can remember so many times when I was a kid when I was always thinking something bad was gonna happen any second. And it wasn't really a PTSD type of thing either. I had so many nightmare scenarios in my head that just came out of nowhere. Hardly nothing bad ever happened that I was ever aware of when I was that young. It was just what my mind wanted to do with itself.

I was always a generally nervous person.
I think this comes down to not necessarily the rumination itself, but the extreme empathy/sensitivity you had that caused you to fixate on it. You were probably putting more thought into it than the person on the ladder was

As far as OP:

GAD is a tendency to experience more intense anxiety across the board, while SAD would be limited to social situations. I'm sure there is some overlap with plenty of people having both conditions, but I still think they are unique.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 09:43 AM
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Gad bleeds into Sad but SAD doesn't bleed into GAD
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Elegantly put.

I've got GAD that bleeds into SAD, but an "assessment" decided it was SAD rather than GAD. On days when I can deal with the world, the universe and everything, I can deal with people.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 10:23 AM
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I don't remember having generalised anxiety symptoms as a child, but I think my mum had some and I developed some specific phobias on/off that haven't really gotten in the way. I was diagnosed with selective mutism and most of my anxiety was tied to people but it's also obvious that I've always had sensory processing abnormalities as well which creates discomfort. There's definitely something else going on as well like I've always been kind of out of it and self absorbed.. I seem to fit what I've read about schizoid personality disorder, but also have a bunch of autistic traits.

In the past my anxiety went away entirely temporarily in a dark room (with other people.) So something weird is going on there right. I seem to be more comfortable in lighting that isn't really bright as well.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 10:42 AM
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Social is just when thinking about social situations around others, general is with or without people. I have both

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 03:37 AM
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In the past my anxiety went away entirely temporarily in a dark room (with other people.) So something weird is going on there right. I seem to be more comfortable in lighting that isn't really bright as well.
maybe because it's harder to sense Otherness when other individuals can't be visually discerned as easily in darkness.

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 03:36 PM
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maybe because it's harder to sense Otherness when other individuals can't be visually discerned as easily in darkness.
I think it was probably a mixture of things tbh like being more tired which decreases the brains ability to function including in regards to anxiety. More generally it's probably because less people are around at night and social rules are different or something? Or maybe I'm a vampire.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 04:09 PM
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These have a lot in common, but SAD is just related to social situations...
I'm pretty sure that comes to SAD actually can fit GAD as well...

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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 06:05 PM
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I think theres anyone with anxiety ever has one specific type, I think you have anxiety, its more server in certain areas of your life and less sever in others. Your anxiety is heightened when it comes to social situations but other things unrelated to this might trigger it too.
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 03:37 PM
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at night [...]social rules are different
this is actually quite profound

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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 03:42 PM
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I would say social anxiety is limited to anxiety due to social situations while GAD is having anxiety in 'general' like different things.
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 09:28 PM
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My experience is that SA is specifically about social interactions, so worries about how you’re perceived or how to act in social scenarios, things of that nature, whereas general anxiety tends to relate more to practical things such managing your finances/bills or how to setup a room for a party or not being able to decide what product is the better deal, things that you have to find a way to sort out that can cause stress but don’t involve social interaction worries.

I’d imagine most people with SA have general anxiety tied into it to some degree but the social triggers are more at the forefront. That’s how it is for me anyway
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 09:36 PM
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