Discuss about the Social Anxiety Disorder and Social Skills.
Abnormal psychology is the study of the unique patterns of thoughts, behaviours and emotions which might or might not be assumed as triggering of a mental disorder. However, there are so many behaviours which can be considered as abnormal. This branch of psychology factually deals with the behaviour in the clinical context (Sommers, Curtin, & Newman, 2013). There have been histories related to such a topic to understand this behaviour and mainly cultural difference approach is followed. There are multiple reasons for the causes of the conditions which are very different form each other with the help of the various theories of psychology which studies about being abnormal. There is a divide done in between the psychological and the biological conditions which reflect the dualism of the philosophy with respect to mind and body problems (Nusslock, Shackman, Jones, Alloy, & Coan, 2011). There are various approaches which tries to classify the mental disorders. The categories of the abnormal are: Subnormal, paranormal and supernormal.
There are generally two types of the behaviours seen in psychology of abnormality. They are adaptive and maladaptive. Maladaptive behaviour tells that there is undoubtedly some problem which exists which means that the human being is vulnerable and is unable to cope with the stress in the environment. This leads to problems in the functioning of daily life in a normal way (Franklin, Hessel, Aaron, & Arthur, 2010). Abnormal psychology is the backdrop of the clinical psychology but clinical psychologists do not necessarily use the term “Abnormal” in their practice. This term is majorly used in the field of psychiatry which is the study of brain. In these abnormalities, there are various disorders which are studied in details like social anxiety, schizophrenia etc.
Social Anxiety Disorder
There are many human beings who experience harsh social phobia and anxiety. In this process they feel that they are being observed by the public or other people and they become afraid of socializing with other human beings (Heeren & McNally, 2016). Social anxiety disorder is very common now days. It can become very discouraging for the people who have it as this leads to depression in case if those people are not properly behaved with or not properly treated. Person with social anxiety disorder can go in depression if they are not given a proper treatment. Skills for socializing are considered to be very important and vital as people have to adjust according to the society and functioning of it irrespective of the problems they are going through.
Most people become anxious while talking in public, giving presentation, or giving a job interview. When people feel this anxiety, they tend to have sweaty palms, heart pounding, and butterflies in the stomach etc. There are people in America, approximately 15 million who face this disorder and face a deep fear of having negatively evaluated by others in social situations (Schneier, 2003). However, people realize that fear is extreme. This disorder is also known as Social Phobia. Such people become powerless when anxiety hits them. Many people have this belief that abnormality means being different from others or one can say the society will not take it in a normal way.
Causes of Social Anxiety
There are some causes due to which social anxiety develops in the human beings. They are:
Genetics: Sometimes this disorder comes in a human being from his family.
Traumatic Events: In case if the person has gone through some physical and mental abuse, they will feel this disorder.
Social Skills: If an individual is not confident enough then he will face problems in dealing with people in public.
Brain Structure: Sometimes, the brain regulates the fear and anxiety in abnormal way when not needed. Due to this regulation, this disorder generates.
Family History: Parents which are overly protective for their kids, or over anxious might make their children prone to social anxiety (Cruz, Martins, & Rejane Beserr, 2017).
Symptoms of Social Anxiety
The behaviour of people will always change if they are not acting normal or feeling normal. While the social anxiety disorder takes place, individuals will not feel comfortable in talking to others, will feel self conscious, will have difficulty in making friends, will dodge face to face interactions, and will start taking drugs to ease the pain (Angélico, Crippa, & Loureiro, 2013).
Behavioural Aspects of Social Anxiety Disorder
Most of the times, the cognitive and behavioural models of anxiety are linked together. Yet the supporters of every perspective always tend to focus on various variables in the theories.The philosophers, who study the behaviours of the human beings in psychology, usually focus on the experiences they get from the learnings which consists of the vintage and operant conditioning that moves ahead to the development of the fear (Henderson, Gilbert, & Zimbardo, 2014).
According to Mower (1960), in his two stage model of the growth of fear and maintenance, fear will always begin with the classical conditioning of the event. In this conditioning, the object is linked with some absolutely hated moment for that object in order to generate the fear in that object. After then the fear is maintained by the operant conditioning in which the behaviour of avoidance will help the fear to decrease (L. Rodebaugh, Heimberg, Taylor, & Lenze, 2016).
Rachman in the year 1976 and 1977 opposed this view on the grounds that most of the human beings with this disorder never recalled any kind of conditioning when they faced the event which led to disorder. Later he also proposed that conditioning could be one cause but due to shock too, phobia can generate in individuals. Model that Rachman gave was considered to be the example of that theory which combines learning and cognitive processes (Cederlund, 2013). Theorists of cognitive psychology focus on the significance of the beliefs, predictions and cognitive biases in the growth and the preservation of the disorders. The best cognitive model in terms of anxiety disorders is of David Clark’s which he gave in the year of 1986 and 1988.
Clark said that the panic attacks which are unexpected by the individuals, they are triggered because of the occurrence of the sensations which the individuals feel physically. Such panic attacks are usually misinterpreted by the human beings with the indication of immediate threat. When this is misinterpreted, it leads to more anxiety. This will lead to more of the sensational feeling in body and more interpretations are made. In a fraction of seconds, that mild physical arousal becomes panic attack.
Study of Cognitive Theories
CBT Vs Support Therapy: There was a research done on a group of people who met the DSM-III criteria of the social anxiety disorder. Heimberg in the year 1994 did the comparison between the 12 sessions of the group CBT that included cognitive strategies and exposure with the group of people who received education and support (Argembeau, Linden, Etienne, & Comblain, 2003). With the usage of the clinical ratings, the results were assessed and also behavioural, physiological and cognitive assessments. Both of the groups were improved on most of the measures although the one with CBT was rated as improved to a much more extent than the other one and was reported with less anxiety during the test. Even after 6 months of follow up, results were the same as before. People with CBT were more improved than the other ones.
Hofman, Newman and Roth & Taylor in the year 1994 researched on the effectiveness of the exposure therapy with no cognitive interventions. There were 36 individuals with social anxiety who said that they had a fear of speaking in public. 8 weekly sessions were given to all those participants where exposure therapy was given. There was another group known as waitlist control group. The ones who got the exposure therapy faced so many changes in terms of the behaviour, subjective and cognitive anxiety (Washburn, Wilson, Roes, Rnic, & Harkness, 2016).
CBT and Pharmacological Treatments
Turner, Beidel and Jacob in 1994 researched on the three months of behavioural therapy by giving them medicines like atenolol and placebo to 72 patients in total who met the criteria of social anxiety disorder. Flooding is a part of the behaviour therapy which was given here in this experiment. If placebo and flooding is considered, flooding was considered better. Atenolol was not at all considered good. 88.9% of people were cured from the therapy of exposure, 46.6% from atenolol and 43.8% from the placebo. After the six months follow up, people who were improved maintained their gains (Smits, Rosenfield, McDonald, & Telch, 2006).
Another experiment was done by Gelernter in 1991. 65 patients who had social anxiety were assigned to four 12week treatment of CBT, Phenelzine and self-exposure instructions, alprazolam and placebo. All the groups improved after the treatment. When the scoring was done, 63% for Phenelzine, 38% for alprazolam, 24% of CBT and 20% of placebo came out. It turned out Phenelzine was better than CBT in improving the condition of the individuals. Hence, Phenelzine and CBT patients were followed up for six months. After six months, Phenelzine patients relapsed while people who were treated with CBT maintained their gains.
Later by more researchers, a lot of tests in the similar way were done (Mitte, 2005). At last, one could say that there are evidences through which it was proved that CBT is an effective treatment for social anxiety disorder. CBT proves to be successful as compared to supportive therapy, placebo and other treatments. Hence, a conclusion could be made that pharmacological approaches are good for short term treatments but for a long term goal, CBT is to be used.
Psychological Models of social anxiety
A general model of psychology of mental disorder suggests that social, biological and other circumstances casually operate by disturbing the psychological process.
The central point where all the disruptions happen is shown in the figure. The approaches of psychology have separated actual events from the understating of the events. This model displays neatly differentiated events from psychological processes which understand, buffer and act eventually on such events (Chouhan & Sharma, 2017). This model tries to refer to the interactions in between the classes of casual variables. All factors such as biological, social and situational are significant and are presumed to interact. It is actually the combined effect of the interacting factors on these psychological processes which leads to the disorders.
This model is not only developed to imply that the cliché symptoms of psychiatric classifications are psychological but also that the psychological processes or dysfunctions have their hand in shaping the nature, extent and type of phenomena which is usually developed in the disorders. If seen in bio psychological model, there are many of the casual factors which are implicated. For example: In depression, few casual factors might be salient and few psychological processes might be linked (Kemp & Felmingham, 2008). It is always likely to theorize that deprivation from social factors, childhood ill-treatment, genetic pain, biochemical insults are the factors which combining all can help in the development of the mental disorder or depression.
All such factors might impose on psychological factors processes such as self-respect beliefs in self efficacy and hopes of reward. Depression which is shown in the model is depicted asthe direct result and neither of neuroanatomical mechanisms and also does not contribute to social and situational factors. It is the disruptions of these processes that ultimately lead to the mental disorder and sometimes depression (Seekles, Cuijpers, Kok, & Straten, 2012).
Biological models of social anxiety
Neuroscience has occupied the major role in mental health as it validly reveals the links to the development of mental disorders. Neuroscience’s objective is to do the finding on the biological determination for the phenomena of the mental disorders. When the development on this research was done, genetic heritance and brain psychology were seen as the bottom core of such type of illnesses (Lebowitz, Pyun, & kyoung, 2014).
One of the major objectives of the biological psychiatry was to identify the gene or the set of genes so that pathological mental process could be taken care of. For years and years, it was always felt that ignoring the disorder etiology would finally be conquered as the technology progresses and it will result in the research possibilities. When advanced genetic research techniques were developed, the identification of the gene was made possible. In Human Genome project, the objective was to identify the individual’s body architecture of genetics for identifying the relation between the inheritance genetics and the diseases emergence. The development of the effective therapeutic and preventive interventions was done then (Norrholm S. D., 2009). Studies are done on the findings of the genes for the disorders like schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder etc.
In terms of biology, epigenetic is the term which corresponds to the modification of the gene’s expression. In other words, it is actually a modification of the results produced in the organism which is based on the upregulation of the gene. The effects of this refer to the development of the proteins which are based on the information that is contained in every segment of the DNA. It is also accountable for the metabolic effects which are developed in organism and hence in the formation of the phenotypes. Down regulation and up regulation of gene is very common in the development with the help of which cell are able to differentiate during the embryonic process and then they easily develop the characteristics in every tissue and organ of the human body (Norrholm & Ressler, 2009).
The Developing brain
The impression of the epigenetic is linked with the neurodevelopment and plasticity of brain in neuroscience. In opposition to the description of brain which works as an isolated information processor, the present model points towards the multiplicity of connections and underlying in determination in development of brain and it’s functioning. This is the situation when mental disorders are defined as neuro developmental disorders and they are looked upon as the final state of abnormal process in the development of the brain (Martin, Ressier, Binder, & Nummeroff, 2013). These are the processes which occur in the critical situations during the development of the individual and leads to the functional modifications such as behavioural alterations and cognitive deficits etc.
Socioculture Model of Social Anxiety
The Socioculture approach can be defined as the method that makes and defines the individuals. This approach focuses on the influence of the society that individual live in. The cultural factors such as art, language, norms or social structures play an important role in the growth of the cognitive abilities. Sociocultural approach has one model which is known as Bifold model (Mechanic, 1975).
The Bifold Model
There have been many studies which have taken a further approach of sociocultural model of social anxiety. The working of the approach could be displayed by doing the comparison of the human memory and the memory of the animal. The memory of the animal is reactionary. For example: A mouse always will live in the present and it only links itself with the object that it sees at that moment. The mind of the animal will never be able to unlock the experiences independent of the moment it experienced at that moment. Hence, the mouse can realize and recognize the predator when approached by one and act according to the situation but it would never recall the predator like snake or anything. Language gives the capability to human beings to recall experiences with not having being first hand. Human being can see the watermelon and will recall what it is but also recalls the taste of it and also the memory of having one earlier. Similarly, any shocking incident if happened with the human being will be recalled at the time of fear or darkness etc.
Directions for the Future Research
There are some of the recommendation on the basis of the research of anxiety disorders that is done till now. Based on the findings of the research, here are some recommendations for the treatment of such disorders:
- There is more of the longitudinal research with the usage of the multidimensional approach is needed for risks of the development of the anxiety disorders. There are actually not many studies done on the role of the protection factors which can decrease the development of the social anxiety disorders(Shodhganga, 2018).
- The research that is to be done in the future should be more controlled with the inclusion of the Meta analytic studies. The combination of the pharmacological and psychological treatments should be done even more.
- Researches should be strong methodologically for the effectiveness of the psychotherapeutic approaches.
- Researches that explore treatment sequencing are needed when combined treatments are used.
- The follow up of the treatments should be done for the long term so that efficacy over time is measured.
- Antidepressant medications in the treatment should be evaluated and for a controlled research should be done.
- The studies of the treatment should always involve a wider range of the outcome variables like effect of anxiety disorder on the life’s quality etc.
- The self-help treatments for the anxiety disorders should be conducted more and should be researched on further(Antony & Stein, 2012).
This essay focuses on the psychology of abnormality. There are many abnormalities which a person deals with in life but out of them all the most common disorder is social anxiety. This type of disorder occurs in almost everybody but to some people it is deep and depressing. The definition of the social anxiety disorder is explained in this essay with the treatments that were done for curing of such disorders. Out of all the treatments, CBT is one of the most essential and successful treatment of all other treatments. There were researches done by the scientists where a few more pharma doses were given to the people who had anxiety disorder with CBT. Evidence proves that CBT is a cure for such type of disorders and it is good for long term. The biological, Socioculture and psychological models of the mental disorders are also emphasized in order to study more about abnormal psychology.
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