Category Archives: Health

Shyness vs. Social Anxiety Disorder

When does shyness become a disorder? This is a pivotal question that people should be aware of. Everyone knows what a shy person is like: quiet, hates to be the center of attention, nervous about standing out, etc.; however people can rarely tell the difference between someone who is shy versus someone who is suffering from social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder is when a person has an irrational fear of social situations while shyness is the difficulty but not impossibility to participate in group activities and other social situations. The difference between social anxiety and shyness is very significant; in order to treat an individual effectively it is vital to accurately distinguish between the two conditions.

Social Anxiety Disorder is the third most common psychiatric disorder in the world following major depression and substance abuse. Social phobia and social anxiety disorder can be used interchangeably.

Those who suffer from social phobia have an ongoing fear of being scrutinized, judged, and embarrassed in public places.

There are also several physical symptoms that occur to those suffering from Social anxiety disorder:

  • Fast heartbeat.
  • Upset stomach or nausea.
  • Trouble catching your breath.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Confusion or feeling “out of body”
  • Diarrhea.
  • Muscle tension.

According to a 2007 ADAA survey, 36% of people with social anxiety disorder report-experiencing symptoms for ten or more years before seeking help.  According to Christian Nordqvist, social anxiety disorder is an “excessive emotional discomfort, anxiety, fear or worry about social situations.” It is normal to feel nervous in situations like giving a presentation, having a job interview, and going on a date. This nervousness becomes social anxiety disorder when everyday social interactions cause an extreme amount of fear.

Shyness simply refers to nervousness in social situations. People who suffer from shyness tend to be standoffish, bashful, extremely self-conscious, and may come across as insecure. Although it may seem that shyness is just as bad as social anxiety, in reality social anxiety disorder can have a much worse impact on one’s life.

This pie chart shows that there are so many people in the world who are shy but that doesn’t mean they have social anxiety disorder. It is possible to just be shy. Social anxiety disorder affects about 6% of the United States population, which is more than 17 million people.

It is hard to know how a person is feeling. They may come across just a little shy but you don’t know how they are struggling internally.

Social Anxiety is a medical disorder that needs to be treated and can’t go away on its own while shyness can go away without treatment. Shyness does not put a stop to everyday functioning. On the other hand, social anxiety can completely interfere with your daily life. There are similarities between shyness and social anxiety disorder but in all social anxiety disorder is much more severe and threatening to a person’s life.





Sleep Deprivation Among College Students

Sleep is very important for college students. I for one know how important sleep is to me. Without a good night sleep it is very hard to get through the day. Sleep deprivation is a constant struggle that many college students face.

Over 70% (a majority) of college students reported that they obtain less than 8 hours of sleep per night, according to an article posted by the Nature and Science of Sleep.

As college students there are many things that disrupt our sleep such as all-night study sessions, socializing, and all the stress that comes with college. If students were to be aware of the academic and health risks involved with sleep deprivation, it would help them plan their study time better and understand the importance of a good night sleep.

It is clear that a lack of sleep has negative effects on college students but first it is important to understand how many people are suffering from sleep deprivation and to know what causes the lack of sleep college students face.

According to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), more than half of the country’s young adults report “waking up feeling unrefreshed” (55%).

A survey at a North Central university conducted in 2008 by a team led by Dr. LeAnne Forquer of over 300 students found that over 75% of participants had poor sleep quality and poor sleeping habits

There are two main causes of sleep deprivation:

  1. Academic and emotional stress
  2. Poor Sleep Hygiene

In a recent study conducted at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota: 68% of students have trouble falling asleep due to academic and emotional stress.

Poor sleep hygiene refers mainly to the weekends when students sleep in much later to catch up on the sleep they missed during the week. This ends up disrupting their sleeping patterns.

Students grades are significantly impacted when they do not receive the proper amount of sleep.

It was found that Students who obtained more sleep (greater than or equal to 9 hours) had higher GPAs than those who got less than or equal to 6 hours of sleep: GPAs were 3.24 vs 2.74 on average, respectively.

This video shows the effects of sleep deprivation.

It is a known fact that college students are the most sleep deprived group of people. They are the people that need sleep the most. The stressful lifestyle of college does not allow students to get the amount of sleep they need.

Schools such as Washington University have begun celebrating Sleep Awareness Week where they handed out fliers about the benefits of sleep and gave students tips for getting more sleep. Although they are trying to help the students there is not much they can really do. College students have busy schedules and it is incredibly difficult to change that.