Shame Increases Feelings of Anxiety in Psychosis

Shame is an emotion that can lead to feelings of humiliation, embarrassment, unattractiveness, and isolation. People who feel shame often have low feelings of self-worth and have less-than-optimal opinions of their own identities. For people with anxiety, shame may be a particularly debilitating emotion, especially if they also have psychosis. In fact, it is estimated that the majority of comorbidity found among individuals with psychosis is with anxiety and social anxiety in particular. Researchers theorize that people who are susceptible to social anxiety have symptoms of behavioral issues, shyness, and shame long before they develop evidence of anxiety. Because of the high rates of comorbidity in psychosis and anxiety, it would be prudent to explore whether or not shame increases the risk for anxiety in those with psychosis.

Maria Michail of the Division of Nursing at the School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Physiotherapy at the University of Nottingham in the UK recently led a study looking at how shame vulnerability, shame appraisals, and loss of perceived social position affected people with social anxiety (SAD) and a first episode of psychosis (FEP). Michail found that the participants with SAD were most negatively affected by shame proneness and their perceived loss of social position. This was especially true of those with SAD and psychosis; however, even participants with SAD only were affected. For those with both FEP and SAD, stigma associated with mental illness led to increases in shame and feelings of rejection. These findings suggest that shame is the catalyst for negative outcomes in SAD, regardless of whether psychosis is present or not. But Michail believes that these results also demonstrate that those experiencing their first episode of psychosis may be at increased risk for negative outcomes if they also have SAD. Michail hopes that her findings will extend the reach of existing treatments aimed at individuals with psychosis and SAD. Michail said that when therapists are addressing distress in psychosis and SAD symptoms, “Psychological interventions could be enhanced by taking into consideration these idiosyncratic shame appraisals.”

Reference:
Michail, M., and Birchwood, M. (2013). Social Anxiety Disorder and Shame Cognitions in Psychosis. Psychological Medicine, 43(1), 133-42. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291712001146

© Copyright 2013 by www.GoodTherapy.org Fresno Bureau - All Rights Reserved.

Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org. The preceding article was solely written by the author name above. The view and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • 3 comments
  • Leave a Comment
  • Bree

    February 9th, 2013 at 4:38 AM

    you feel shame and you somehow feel “less than”. . . anxiety could only make these feelings worse

  • JT

    February 10th, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    Shame can drag down the morale and enthusiasm of the best.Combine that with anxiety or psychosis and the results will only be more pronounced.Shame is an emotion that can quickly consume you and bring you under it’s influence.I believe regular mental exercises done with a purpose of thwarting shame work well.One such exercise is to pursue your interests and go about your things without minding too much about what others think.It works for me!

  • Hank

    February 11th, 2013 at 4:01 AM

    Shame is sure to make even the smallest issues feel like they could be the weight of the world.

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.

2 Z k A

 

* All fields are required.

Advanced Search

Search Our Blog

Title   Content   Author

Recent Comments

  • Debbie: I have read the article and a few of the responses and relate to so much. I am double the age of a few of you and it took me over 25 years...
  • Debbie: What do I do ??? I have a son who is 37 years old he is a drug addict ….refuses to acknowledge it…..things nothing is wrong he...
  • Pearl: It took me 27 years to realize I had married a narcissist . I think if you Google about them you will also see so many similar traits in the...
  • Sandra: Questiion. Looking to see if LENS or traditional neurofeedback is best to treat ASD and HDHD on a child 6?years old?
  • laticia: Am sorry you had to go through that. It seems consistent for an addict to blame everyone else for their issues. I have tried very hard to...
GoodTherapy.org is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on GoodTherapy.org.