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Welcome to UK

Millions of people around the world suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder (also known as Social Phobia) and related conditions. Despite being the most common type of anxiety disorder and the cause of much impairment and suffering, it is under-recognised and under-treated. Yet virtually everyone knows what it is like to feel shy or lacking in social confidence, often to an extent that can limit opportunities and happiness. Because social anxiety issues are still relatively unknown amongst the wider public, most aren"t even aware that the thing which can have such a huge impact on their lives has a name.

The three main aims of this site are to provide a starting point for people just finding out about SA and related issues, to enable them to access further information through this site and through external links; to act as a central hub for the community of those with social anxiety problems in the UK; and to attempt to raise the profile of SA problems and campaign for change, so that in future, people afflicted by them don"t have to suffer in silence as so many of us have done in the past.

SA-UK is a volunteer-led organisation so don"t expect a miracle cure! However, most of us have found that just finding out more about the issues and talking to other people who know what it is like to experience the same problems has been truly beneficial. It might feel like it sometimes, but you are not alone....

The SAUK organisation is comprised of three parts -

  • The main site (this website)
  • The Forum
  • The Chatrooms

Much useful information is contained both on this website and in the forums, and support is available from the Forum and Chatrooms, please take your time to explore everything that the SAUK organisation can offer you.

What is Social Anxiety?

'Regular' social anxiety is known to all of us as an uncomfortable feeling of nervousness. Many people have particular worries about social situations like public speaking or talking to authority figures, or experience more general feelings of shyness or a lack of confidence.

For some, however, these social anxieties and fears can become much more troubling and difficult to cope with. Everyday tasks which most people take for granted - such as working, socialising, shopping, speaking on the telephone, even just going out of the house - might be a wearing ordeal marked by persistent feelings of anxiety and self-consciousness. Public performances or social gatherings might be out of the question.

When the social anxiety becomes this bad, sufferers could be diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder, also known as Social Phobia. Shyness is not a criteria for diagnosis. Sufferers differ in how naturally reserved or outgoing they may be and in regard to the sorts of situations or people they might find most difficult or might be OK with. Individuals who are particularly socially inhibited, avoidant and sensitive to criticism or rejection may meet criteria for Avoidant Personality Disorder, now seen by many as only the more extreme or generalised end of an 'SA spectrum'.

Sufferers typically experience excessive feelings of nervousness or dread in relation to feared social situations. They may experience specific physical symptoms such as trembling, rapid breathing, sweating or blushing. At the extreme, panic attacks can occur. Sufferers tend to be very self-conscious and worried about whether others might be evaluating them negatively. They tend to ruminate over past social incidents, worrying about how they might have come across.

At a deeper level, sufferers can experience chronic insecurity about their relationships with others, hypersensitivity to criticism, or fears of being rejected by others. Many people can go through this kind of experience during adolescence, but for SA'ers the problems can persist well beyond those years. Over time, many sufferers come to avoid the situations they fear or become very inhibited or defensive in situations, often leading to depression and loneliness.

If you have experienced or do experience feelings such as these, you could well have Social Anxiety or the more severe form - Social Anxiety Disorder. Experiencing these kinds of feelings and thoughts can be very isolating, you can feel like the only person in the world with these kinds of problems, but one of the most reassuring things that many people gain from joining the SAUK community is that they are not alone, that others have experienced and continue to experience the same thoughts and feelings.

Do not despair in your situation, there is help available, work continues within the field of Social Anxiety and many techniques and methods are now employed in helping people cope with and overcome the thoughts and feelings that drive Social Anxiety, and support is always available through the SAUK Forum and Chatroom, try to remember, you are not alone.

Welcome to the UK Chatrooms

The SAUK chat rooms are run independently of this website and the forum, by fellow sufferers of social anxiety. They do not offer professional support. If you need professional help or advice, please see a doctor. The rooms are intended as an environment for SA sufferers to socialise,

If you need to contact the SAUK Chatroom Admin you can email: saukchat[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk

By entering these chatrooms you are agreeing to abide by the rules

The SAUK Chatrooms

Accessing the chatrooms

The above links open the chatroom in a new window in your browser, while the site remains in this window. The java applet may take a while to load, depending on your connection speed. To start chatting, simply choose a nickname, click on "Connect", and once the chatroom appears you can start chatting!

There are other ways to access the SAUK Chatrooms, most browsers offer means for accessing chatrooms or you can install a standalone client, such as mirc, Pidgin or XChat, which will install like any other program on your computer.

To access the rooms manually using mIRC, Trillian, XChat, etc, join: server
The two SAUK Chatrooms are -
#sauk (for family orientated chat)
#lounge (for conversations of an adult nature)
For the port enter either 6667 or 994, and for the group "serenia".

Social Anxiety & Social Anxiety disorder

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is anxiety (emotional discomfort, fear, apprehension, or worry) about social situations, interactions with others, and being evaluated or scrutinized by other people. It occurs early in childhood as a normal part of the development of social functioning, but may go unnoticed until adolescence or may surface in adulthood. People vary in how often they experience social anxiety and in which kinds of situations. Overcoming social anxiety can be relatively easy, or just a matter of time passing for many, and yet can be very difficult for some. The reasons are unknown: It can be related to shyness or other emotional or temperamental factors, but its exact nature is still the subject of research and theory.

[Wikipedia - Social Anxiety]

Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)

Social anxiety disorder, also called social anxiety and social phobia, is excessive social anxiety (anxiety in social situations) causing considerable distress and impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life. The diagnosis can be of a specific disorder (when only some particular situations are feared) or a generalized disorder. Generalized social anxiety disorder typically involves a persistent, intense, chronic fear of being judged by others and of being embarrassed or humiliated by one's own actions. These fears can be triggered by perceived or actual scrutiny from others. While the fear of social interaction may be recognized by the person as excessive or unreasonable, overcoming it can be quite difficult. About 13.3 percent of the general population may meet criteria for social anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, according to the highest survey estimate, with the male:female ratio being 2:3.

An early diagnosis may help minimize the symptoms and the development of additional problems, such as depression.

[Wikipedia - Social Anxiety disorder]


Psychological Symptoms

A common experience amongst sufferers are feelings of dread about situations that they will encounter. SA sufferers experience dread over how they will be presented to others. They may be overly self-conscious, pay high self-attention after the activity, or have high performance standards for themselves. According to the social psychology theory of self-presentation, a sufferer attempts to create a well-mannered impression on others but believes he or she is unable to do so. Many times, prior to the potentially anxiety-provoking social situation, sufferers may deliberately go over what could go wrong and how to deal with each unexpected case. After the event, they may have the perception they performed unsatisfactorily. Consequently, they will review anything that may have possibly been abnormal or embarrassing. These thoughts do not just terminate soon after the encounter, but may extend for weeks or longer. Those with SA tend to interpret neutral or ambiguous conversations with a negative outlook and many studies suggest that socially anxious individuals remember more negative memories than those less distressed.

Behavioural Symptoms

Social anxiety disorder is a persistent fear of one or more situations in which the person is exposed to possible scrutiny by others and fears that he or she may do something or act in a way that will be humiliating or embarrassing. It exceeds normal "shyness" as it leads to excessive social avoidance and substantial social or occupational impairment. Feared activities may include almost any type of social interaction, especially small groups, dating, parties, talking to strangers, restaurants, etc. Possible physical symptoms include "mind going blank", fast heartbeat, blushing, stomach ache, nausea and gagging. Cognitive distortions are a hallmark, and learned about in CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy). Thoughts are often self-defeating and inaccurate.

Physiological symptoms

People who suffer from SA can experience one or more of these symptoms at any one time.

  • Blushing
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or Shaking
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty in Speaking / Shaky voice / Stammering
  • Confusion
  • Heart Palpatations
  • Upset Stomach
  • Feeling weak

[Wikipedia - Social Anxiety disorder]

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