Social Phobia

Introduction

  • Social phobia is an anxiety disorder
  • From 3 to 13% of people in the world have had this condition during their lives
  • This disorder does not go away by itself and can get in the way of day-to-day life.
  • Most people with social phobia don't know that they have a treatable disorder

People with social phobia fear that if they do things in public, they will look stupid and will be embarrassed. They feel as if everyone is watching and judging them.

This fear may be tied to common actions such as

  • public speaking,
  • eating a meal,
  • writing a cheque, or
  • using a public restroom.

As a result, they avoid such situations.

Social phobia is not just being shy. Shy people may be uncomfortable in social situations, but their shyness does not stop them from doing things.

Symptoms

People who have social phobia:

  • Are anxious when they are the focus of attention, even if its for a short time
  • Know that their anxiety is not logical or reasonable
  • Have high anxiety or even a panic attack (intense fear, a sense of doom, dizziness, dizziness) when they even think about being in a social situation
  • Worry other people will notice how nervous they are
  • Are afraid of unfamiliar places and stay away from them
  • Are unable to work or participate in school or social activities because of the fear of doing something embarrassing

Causes

The cause of social phobia is unknown. Both genetic and environmental factors may play a part. Social phobia tends to run in families.

Treatment

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy:

Individuals with social phobia can learn to change their responses to situations. Replacing negative thoughts with more positive ones can help individuals exert control over the fear. Assertiveness training may help an individual feel self-confident and less scared.

Support groups are also very helpful.

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and hypnosis have proven beneficial in treating phobias as well.

Medications: Anti-anxiety medicines have been found to be effective in treating social phobia. A number of medicines that were originally approved for treatment of depression have also been found to be effective for anxiety disorders.