The Neurology of Social Anxiety Disorder
Overwhelming dread in anticipation of social contact or extreme feelings of anxiety and nervousness in social situations typically finds its origin in the right side of the brain.
The brain's right hemisphere is responsible for "gathering" information. That is, this is where information from external world first enters the brain system. Incoming data is initially processed in a "fuzzy," indistinct way, then rapidly transferred over to the left hemisphere where it is "sharpened up" and assigned value and meaning. The left brain is also where our brain makes us consciously aware of what is going on in our world.
If the right side of our brain is dysfunctional and not doing its job efficiently, the information sent over is "distorted." The left hemisphere, with no means to judge whether the information is accurate, simply accepts the imprecise data as valid and a true representation of what is going on in the world. What the brain believes is true, the person believes is true. This, of course, leads to big problems. When there is a conflict between our personal experiences and those of others, life becomes confusing and frustrating for all concerned.
I call this phenomenon "stepping on land mines:" Just when you think you understand a situation or circumstances, it "blows up" on you. Events and situations methodically turn out in unexpected ways, and you hear or think, "Nothing ever goes right for me." Family and friends tend to get annoyed at the person for not understanding and "twisting the facts," accusing "You just don't get it."
All this inevitably leads to not trusting themselves and others. The natural reaction is to either retreat into themselves (social anxiety) or "to get angry for no reason" (anger management issues).
Overcoming Social Anxiety
We have been quite successful in remediating the right brain dysfunction in those with such life issues. When the brain is able to do its job efficiently and the person has had opportunities to rebuild self confidence, an exciting new world becomes possible.