Social phobia is one of the most common psychological disorders around the world, but a lot of people don’t understand it. It’s important to demystify this condition because by understanding it better, you will find it easier to seek treatment if you have it. If you know anyone who has untreated social phobia, or appears to fit the description, help them to get the help they need, and provide them with your round-the-clock support as well.
Social phobia is characterized by debilitating fear in social situations, most notably the extreme fear of being negatively judged, fear of public speaking, and fear of humiliation. While everyone gets a bit of stage fright sometimes, it’s not so severe that they would need an anxiety specialist. Social phobia is a different story. This is one of many anxiety disorders that involves panic attacks, in which mounting fear causes the sufferer extreme distress, hyperventilation, and palpitations. These attacks can come on even before the individual ever faces any social situation.
Social phobia can be caused by genetic factors, or faulty brain circuitry in the areas that control emotion, check this depression clinic in Sydney. However, it can also be triggered and developed following a highly embarrassing experience in a social situation during childhood. In some cases, social phobia can be developed after observing fear-related behavior of others, particularly parental or familial figures. If an individual does not develop appropriate social skills in their youth, they may instead develop this phobia.
People with social phobias find it extremely difficult to seek treatment with an anxiety specialist, as their condition makes them avoid being in any social situation. With some support from loved ones that they trust, however, they can effectively be treated. The more severe cases may require medical treatment, but it will always involve psychotherapy techniques. Each individual is different and will require different therapies to varying degrees – there is no one-size-fits-all in the world of mental health.
The most commonly employed therapy is called Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), which helps the client develop more rational approaches to their reactions in social situations. A technique called systematic desensitization specifically helps to gradually expose clients to increasingly anxiety-causing situations, providing the opportunities to practice what they learn in therapy. Clients are also aided in learning social skills and improving their self-esteem, often using relaxation techniques like meditation. Improvements can be seen as early as a few weeks into treatment.
If you suspect that you have a social phobia, or know someone who might, don’t hesitate to seek help. This condition is easily treatable with the right therapy and support.