Can Technology Affect Social Anxiety Disorder?
Technology has become really advanced over the past couple decades. Between texting on cell phones and computers with social networking and instant messaging, there is really not as much face to face communication anymore. There are now self check out lanes at grocery stores. People can now buy most products from the internet, even groceries, and do not even have to go to a physical store and interact with a cashier to buy an item. A lot of banks are offering online banking and direct deposit so that people no longer have to visit a bank teller to deposit paychecks. Here are some pros and cons of technology and how it can have an effect on those with social anxiety.
There may be instances when the internet and cell phones may helpful to those with social anxiety. If a person is extremely socially anxious and avoids people and does not respond to treatment, they may eventually become lonely and depressed. These new technologies may offer a distraction and make a person with social anxiety feel more connected to the world. It might not be as beneficial as face to face interaction, but communicating through technology may help people with severe anxiety issues to feel less alone.
People with social anxiety who are searching for doctors or support groups might find it easier to search online than in a telephone book. With the use of the internet, a person with social anxiety can find more treatments available. They can read more about the disorder and find doctors in their area who treat social anxiety.
While technology is very convenient, there are many new technologies that may be helping a person with social anxiety to stay right in the comfort of their home and not have to interact with a human being. A person with social anxiety may spend too much time in the house, since technology has made it so that they rarely ever have to leave their home. This causes isolation from the outside world.
Without exposure to the outside world, a person with social anxiety may not get the chance to even try to overcome their fears of speaking in public or holding conversations with people. By avoiding human contact and using technology to communicate instead, people with social anxiety will stay in their comfort zone. If a person wants to overcome their fears of social anxiety, then getting more exposure and human interactions may help to desensitize their anxieties.
Interfering With Relationships
Some people with social anxiety may isolate themselves from the outside world. By using technology to communicate with others instead of face to face interactions, the value of relationships may decrease. Spending time with friends, family or other people in the outside world can create bonds and closer relationships. If a person with social anxiety is always hiding behind technology, they may not be able to have as many close relationships and may end up becoming depressed as a result.
In some ways, technology may have an affect on social anxiety disorder. Most likely, I would say that the cons outweigh the pros. A socially anxious person might potentially be able to get better if they stepped out of their comfort zone. This way they could have more face to face interactions with people and may become desensitized to the feelings of social anxiety. It is possible that social anxiety disorder is more prevalent today than it was before all of the advances in technology. All of this convenient technology may keep a person stuck in their comfort zone without taking any steps to get better.