GREAT NECK, N.Y., July 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Preventing mass murder begins in part with developing better diagnostics and treatment for social anxiety and avoidance, says therapist Jonathan Berent, L.C.S.W., who has treated 10,000 anxiety sufferers over his 30-year career.
Aurora, Colo., shooter James Holmes's profile of a quiet, friendless loner echoes those of Columbine's Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and Virginia Tech's Seung-Hui Cho.
"Social avoidance is the common denominator with all these killers," Berent says. "Because their avoidance and related issues were undiagnosed and untreated, their feelings of isolation, desperation, self-loathing, and disempowerment caused them to explode with rage."
Traditional psychotherapy and medication alone cannot resolve social anxiety -- the fear of humiliation and rejection so severe it leads sufferers to avoid human interaction, Berent says.
"We need to continue developing diagnostics and treatment to help people address painful underlying issues," Berent explains, "not merely the depression or social angst on the surface."
The earlier the better, he says, because without treatment, a socially anxious child usually becomes a socially anxious adult. "Parents and professionals have this mantra: 'She's just shy. She'll grow out of it.' But that's seldom true. Not without help."
Psychotherapist Jonathan Berent, L.C.S.W., is the author of Beyond Shyness: How to Conquer Social Anxieties (Simon & Schuster), Work Makes Me Nervous: Overcome Anxiety and Build the Confidence to Succeed (Wiley), and Social Anxiety: The Untold Story (Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety). For more information about social anxiety, visit www.social-anxiety.com.
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SOURCE Jonathan Berent, L.C.S.W.