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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just wanted to preface this discussion by I do not mean to undermine the seriousness of how SA affects people lives. I know most people consider it a disorder because of how it impairs our normal social functions, especially for people where that function is as trivial as just walking down a street or ordering food at the takeaway.

I have noticed in psychiatry how so many personality disorders have been classified in recent history, which before being classified as disorders would have been just considered different personality types. Somebody with bipolar disorder may have just been considered moody, a bit confused and unsure of themselves. Somebody who has narcissistic personality disorder may have just been considered selfish and self-centered. Likewise, somebody with SA disorder may just have been considered shy/very shy. It almost seems for every different negative personality type you can think of - there is a disorder named after it. However, what if SA is not a disorder, but just a personality type?

Some studies seem to indicate that we are born with certain personality dispositions, and some studies showing that SA sufferers in particular tend to be born with an innate disposition for it. In my case, I certainly seemed to be born with SA like dispositions. Even when I was less than 5 years old, my school reports note I always kept to myself, did not talk to anybody, preferred playing by myself with my own toys. They were very concerned about my "social backwardness" so they put me in a special school for a bit, before realizing I was actually "normal" and put me in a normal school. Even at primary school I always kept by myself. I had only become aware that this was a disorder when I was around 13-14, before that I just regarded it as my personality.

How did SA go from being my personality type before 13-14 to a disorder after? I think one answer is because I became aware at that age that being shy is not considered socially good. I got chosen last in gym class. People teased me and bullied me. I did not speak up in class, so even teachers thought I was an underachiever or had nothing to contribute. I didn't have any friends. Girls did not fancy me. It becomes a disorder because I felt I need to have social desirability and success to make me happier, but before then I did not have any need for this, I was happy being as I was. SA was not a disorder then for me, it was my personality type: I was shy, quiet, introverted, but I was also very calm, patient, intelligent, honest and straight forward and had a penchant for abstract thinking and love for science and philosophy. I did not get the girls or chosen first at gym class -- but I had in abundance what my peers lacked. Had I just learned to embrace my personality type, it would never have become a disorder.

I wonder then, what if we embraced SA as our personality type rather than treat it like a disorder? Rather than hankering after social success which we are disadvantaged for due to our probably innate dispositions, why not capitalize on our strengths? Most SA people I know seem to have great inner resources: intelligence, creativity, honesty and kindness. I find them to be generally more virtuous, ethical and spiritual people. Many of them in history have been great artists, philosophers, scientists, poets, writers and visionaries. I find it consistently in the stories of great intellectuals that they lacked social success most of their life, were shy, introverted and withdrawn. Perhaps, they would not have seen SA as a disorder, maybe even a blessing.

If we can jettison the idea that social success is important or worse even imperative - then that same SA that we consider a disorder, may become our greatest personal strengths. We don't have to be socially successful to be great minds.
 

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Let me just say that by definition, a disorder is something that is out of order. And so, SAD is definitely a disorder because our thought processes are not functioning correctly. Eg we think irrational things, feel dislike where none exists or that everyone has nothing better to do than remember that thing we did years ago etc etc

Obviously, these disorders existed in ancient time as well, but people just didn't give a shιt or treated the sufferers poorly. Check out this impassionate description by the good doctor Hippocrates. He described someone who...
through bashfulness, suspicion, and timorousness, will not be seen abroad; loves darkness as life and cannot endure the light or to sit in lightsome places; his hat still in his eyes, he will neither see, nor be seen by his good will. He dare not come in company for fear he should be misused, disgraced, overshoot himself in gesture or speeches, or be sick; he thinks every man observes him.
Surely that can't be a personality type, no?

I wonder then, what if we embraced SA as our personality type rather than treat it like a disorder? Rather than hankering after social success which we are disadvantaged for due to our probably innate dispositions, why not capitalize on our strengths? Most SA people I know seem to have great inner resources: intelligence, creativity, honesty and kindness. I find them to be generally more virtuous, ethical and spiritual people. Many of them in history have been great artists, philosophers, scientists, poets, writers and visionaries. I find it consistently in the stories of great intellectuals that they lacked social success most of their life, were shy, introverted and withdrawn. Perhaps, they would not have seen SA as a disorder, maybe even a blessing.

If we can jettison the idea that social success is important or worse even imperative - then that same SA that we consider a disorder, may become our greatest personal strengths. We don't have to be socially successful to be great minds.
This is good advice. One has to at least learn to live with the disorder.
 

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It all depends on how we view it. Now that shyness is often referred to as SAD in many cases then it becomes a disorder. Before sa became classed as a "disorder" then we could view it as a personality type. It seems to me that they are labelling everything these days. They could look at laziness and call it laziness disorder. In order to qualify for laziness disorder you must have 4 of the following six symptoms:

1. Don't like to get out of bed on a monday morning for school or work.
2. Doesn't like to clean up mess.
3. Leaves things to the last minute.
4. Has a general underlying feeling of "can't be bothered".
5. Engages in chores such as cleaning half heartedly.
6. Eats out more than twice a week because cooking is too much of a chore.

These symptoms must exist for at least 6 months and cause other people to get annoyed and pissed off at the lazy person.
 

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SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER.

There you go, problem solved.

Having a crippling fear when there is no real danger threatening you, is not something that has to do with personality, it's something that has to do with an abnormal pattern of thinking.

Besides, there are personality disorders too. You see how the word disorder keeps popping up? Social anxiety disorder is not a personality disorder.

I know what you are trying to do. You fear the idea of having a disorder, you are rejecting it so you want to hide behind the finger and pretend it's not there. ''It's just my personality. I am special and complex''. A classic case of evading reality by lying to yourself. I have seen this behaviour before. You are still in denial. From what my therapist told me, people with borderline disorder are the ones most likely to dismiss the idea of anything being wrong with them despite clear evidence, and accussing people they just do not want to put up with their special personality. I was just giving an example. I have nothing against people with that disorder, on the contrary, I have a soft spot in that area.
 

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I like the first 4 paragraphs, my life is quite similar to what you described. I also like the similarly open ended approach to what is an ill defined question to begin with. To that end I don't really have any response to the last 2 paragraphs, there are enough what if's in my mind already.

Where are you from?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It all depends on how we view it. Now that shyness is often referred to as SAD in many cases then it becomes a disorder. Before sa became classed as a "disorder" then we could view it as a personality type. It seems to me that they are labelling everything these days. They could look at laziness and call it laziness disorder. In order to qualify for laziness disorder you must have 4 of the following six symptoms:

1. Don't like to get out of bed on a monday morning for school or work.
2. Doesn't like to clean up mess.
3. Leaves things to the last minute.
4. Has a general underlying feeling of "can't be bothered".
5. Engages in chores such as cleaning half heartedly.
6. Eats out more than twice a week because cooking is too much of a chore.

These symptoms must exist for at least 6 months and cause other people to get annoyed and pissed off at the lazy person.
I hear you, I wouldn't be surprised if they are already working on labeling a laziness disorder!

Let me just say that by definition, a disorder is something that is out of order. And so, SAD is definitely a disorder because our thought processes are not functioning correctly. Eg we think irrational things, feel dislike where none exists or that everyone has nothing better to do than remember that thing we did years ago etc etc

Obviously, these disorders existed in ancient time as well, but people just didn't give a shιt or treated the sufferers poorly. Check out this impassionate description by the good doctor Hippocrates. He described someone who...

Quote:
through bashfulness, suspicion, and timorousness, will not be seen abroad; loves darkness as life and cannot endure the light or to sit in lightsome places; his hat still in his eyes, he will neither see, nor be seen by his good will. He dare not come in company for fear he should be misused, disgraced, overshoot himself in gesture or speeches, or be sick; he thinks every man observes him.

Surely that can't be a personality type, no?
You bring up a good point here to support the general consensus today it is a disorder. However, some of the assumptions you are making like thinking irrationally, feeling dislike or suspicion where none exists or remembering traumatic social encounters can be broadly found in many people and many types of people and even in certain ideologies. A racist for example may perceive a certain race of people with dislike and suspicion and imagine them to do things that they are not doing, they may base this on previous traumatic encounters with that member of the race. So, should we consider racism a disorder? Perhaps we can add Sexism, Marxism also to the disorder category.

Human people generally tend to think irrationally than rationally anyway. The mental fallacies that SA people use like mind reading, fortune telling, catastrophizing, perfectionism can be found in generally all people. The real difference is the extent of how these fallacies affect our day to day social lives.

If we do see SA as a personality type rather than a disorder, we can begin to see SA as not a negative thing, but a set of dispositions. Some of these dispositions can even be labelled as positive: Introverted, intuitive, insightful, creative, intelligent, rational , honest, empathic. Such people may not be socially successful, but it is generally these people who contribute to the progress of society. Einstein was socially awkward, but Einstein's GTR revolutionized science in the 20th century. These people are remembered and praised in history. On the other hand, people who are socially successful, who live happy lives of material pleasures, have loads of friends and slept with loads of people are often not remembered.

Even other personality disorders can be be seen as set of dispositions. A Narcissist can be seen as confident, strong personality, charismatic, entertaining. Such people are found in the entertainment industry - there are few actors and artists who are not not narcissistic. In fact in the entertainment industry narcissism may even be seen to be encouraged. I am sure many of them could even be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.

So perhaps if we see SA as just a set of personality dispositions with their own strengths and weaknesses rather than a disorder, it maybe more helpful. If they are just natural dispositions within our biology, then basically by calling it a disorder we are fighting ourselves and our own biology and perhaps that is when it manifests as a disorder. On the other hand, we find people in history and even today who owned their shyness and even saw it as something positive and liberating. Socrates, for instance, was an outcaste in his society, considered to be mad, socially awkward and hated by everybody because he did not conform to social norms - however Socrates reveled in not going with social norms, challenging peoples beliefs and even considered his own type of people - philosophers - as superior to the common man.

There are a set of people in our society that actually prefer social exclusion, we call them hermits, loners etc These people also do not like appearing in society and being seen by people, but for them it is not necessarily a disorder, it is just the way they are. Perhaps SA only becomes a disorder when we fight against our own nature and try very hard to be social and fit in.

Maybe SA can be seen as being born with an inclination for being more introverted. It is only a disorder if we see it as a disorder.
 

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Anxiety is not the same as shyness. This is an anxiety disorder. Anxiety can take on many forms, and this is just one of them. I don't think it would be helpful for people with the actual disorder to place less importance on the severity of their symptoms than they ought by dismissing those symptoms as "personality dispositions". If you're not a fan of labels, that's fine, but singling out and disqualifying SAD among the many other equally disruptive personality disorders would probably do a lot more harm than you're imagining.
 

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I am convinced anxiety disorder is something you teach yourself. It's something you develop. I was not born with SAD, just 4 or 5 years ago I used to be extremely extroverted and liked by a lot of people. But for whatever reason I started to change and my anxiety got worse and worse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I like the first 4 paragraphs, my life is quite similar to what you described. I also like the similarly open ended approach to what is an ill defined question to begin with. To that end I don't really have any response to the last 2 paragraphs, there are enough what if's in my mind already.

Where are you from?
Thank you :) I am from the UK
 

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I have been thinking about this lately too. Sorry I did not read all of your post but I want to share my ideas on the subject. For example I have been viewed as obsessive by a lot of people because of my religious world view but in fact it is just my personality taken to the extreme. When I withdraw from the chaos of daily life, think clearly and ask myself what I want in life I still have the same opinions and beliefs. I will never be an easy-going, anything-goes type of person. When you take caring about something to an extreme it becomes a problem. Passion can become obsession.

I do not like the term disorder because the really disordered ones do not see anything wrong with themselves. It is usually the harmless sufferers who think they are disordered. This world is flawed at its core. The real disorder is thinking you have no disorder. I will not get into the big pharma conspiracy theories but there is a truth in it too.

I think the key point is moderation. Everyone is different and everything should be done in moderation, I mean without going to the extremes.
 

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Well, even if it is something we are born with it might still be considered a disorder. Consider alcoholics. They used to be just called drunks. Now they think some people are born with the predispostion. In the past, I thought my SA was nurture--a learned behaviour, but what really was about my initial shame/embarrassment that I thought set me on this path? Would another kid have reacted differently? Was it earlier nurturing that I don't remember that made me turn it all in on myself, or was it some genetic predisposition?
Whatever--the only way to get past it is stay hopeful and keep working at it.
 

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There are 2 kinds of Social Anxiety types:

Social Anxiety
and
Social Anxiety Disorder

Wikipedia it.
There are simply different degrees of social anxiety. Some may feel just a bit of anxiety but somewhat manageable and pass as simply shy, some have severe cases that are stopping them from actually having a meaningful life. They may have never dated in their lives, never had a job, gave up on their education and not even left the house after a point in their lives. We are obviously excluding shy people and talk about those that have moderate to severe forms of social anxiety. And those are a disorder without a doubt.

By the way, the articles on Wikipedia are written by other users, so don't look at it as if it's the Bible. They can make few mistakes or present things from their own perspective.
 

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It's an anxiety disorder, for a related personality disorder (personality disorders are different and harder to overcome generally) check out avoidant personality disorder though.

SA is really just a symptom of other problems usually, but you have to figure out what those are on a personal level. For me I have intimacy issues, severely low self esteem when it comes to work related things, and also slight low self esteem in general.

I also hate letting other people down/upsetting them generally unless they are complete *******s so my behaviour is affected by that a bit too. I'm very sensitive to others body language and such, and have a lot of probably irrational thoughts about what people might be thinking about what I'm saying and such.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I found the use of the word "beat" used above to be very interesting and thought provoking. We are trying to beat SA, but many of us, even the experts do not fully understand what SA is and what causes it. If it is true SA is an innate personality disposition, then beating SA is like beating yourself. Your fight will be with yourself for why your body-mind behaves like that. It would be like a gay person fighting with themselves for why they don't like the opposite sex or a person with an average IQ fighting with themselves on why they can't do advanced calculus or an average looking person fighting with themselves on why they can't model. Similarly, if SA is indeed an innate personality disposition, then we are basically fighting with ourselves on why we can't be social.

I am more inclined to the theory that SA is an innate disposition because of my own experiences with SA. I was already predisposed to it as a baby. No matter what I have done to "beat" SA - self-help, meditation, yoga, spirituality, CBT, counselling, exposure therapy - I have never actually beat it - only learned to manage my symptoms better. I still get the same symptoms in social situations. I have found most people who have had SA from childhood also never truly "beat" it - the symptoms still persist. They will forever persist if it indeed true it is a innate disposition that we just happened to be born with.
 

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If it is true SA is an innate personality disposition
if SA is indeed an innate personality disposition
SA is an innate disposition
it is a innate disposition
That's all just from your last reply. Can you spot a pattern???

If it wasn't clear enough that you are in deep denial and you are not willing to admit you have a problem, the fact you repeated the same idea for 4 times in a single reply should be enough evidence. It also shows me you have asked a question for which you do not accept any other answer than the one repetead obsessively above. You are not even willing to hear anything else. You just wanted someone to agree with you so you can validate this ongoing process of lying to yourself.
 

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Just like any other Psychological disorder it's diagnosed on a spectrum, When the severity of the symptoms are greater than the ability to cope and negatively effecting your day-to-day functions, it is a disorder.... Nothing all that difficult to grasp or process here. Sure, the DSM has changed over the years, but so has our understanding of neurology and behavior. Saying that because something wasn't diagnosed earlier in the century as a disorder, it is not one, is rather poor pragmatics to say the least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That's all just from your last reply. Can you spot a pattern???

If it wasn't clear enough that you are in deep denial and you are not willing to admit you have a problem, the fact you repeated the same idea for 4 times in a single reply should be enough evidence. It also shows me you have asked a question for which you do not accept any other answer than the one repetead obsessively above. You are not even willing to hear anything else. You just wanted someone to agree with you so you can validate this ongoing process of lying to yourself.
I think you are far too assuming. I ignored your previous reply to me because you were imputing intentions on me that I am in denial that SA is a disorder, that I am hiding from the truth, that I want to "feel special and complex" and that I may have borderline personality disorder. You don't know me, so how you can you form all these judgement about me and my hidden intentions?

Notice the topic title, "Is SA a disorder or a personality type" I am not actually setting up the topic to argue the thesis SA is a personality type. I have left it as an open-ended question for discussion. Perhaps it is a disorder as you are forcing me to accept and censoring me from thinking freely about it and ask questions - or perhaps it is a personality type - or perhaps it is somewhere in between. It is open for discussion.

You obviously feel it is a disorder, and that is a perfectly valid position for you to argue - however you are not actually arguing for it. You are in fact begging the question "It is a disorder, because it is called a disorder" I have responded to others because they actually argued for it and gave some good points which I have acknowledged. Contrary to your haste judgement about me, I am undecided on whether it is disorder or a personality type. I can see merit in both arguments. Just because I am arguing for the position of it being a personality type does not make me a bad, evil, dangerous, deluded person. Allow me the right to think freely for myself, ask questions and have my own opinions.

I have already prefaced this discussion saying I am by no means trying to undermine the fact that SA significantly impairs peoples lives and can manifest as a disorder. I am not at all ignoring people who are saying it is a disorder.
 
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