Social Phobia: also known as the social anxiety "disorder", it describes people
who become overwhelmingly anxious and excessively self-conscious in everyday
social situations. People with social phobia have an intense, persistent, and
chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of doing things that will
embarrass them, or to be humiliated. They can worry for days or weeks before
a dreaded situation.
or ridicule. Like specific phobias, the fear is recognized by adults as
- The critical element of the fearfulness is the possibility of embarrassment
excessive or unreasonable, but the dreaded social situation is avoided,
or is tolerated with great discomfort.
will see their anxiety symptoms (i.e., trembling, sweating, or blushing); or
- Many people with social phobia are preoccupied with concerns that others
notice their halting or rapid speech; or judge them to be weak, stupid, or
one’s mind going blank are also not uncommon.
- Fears of fainting, losing control of bowel or bladder function, or having
Social phobias generally are associated with significant anticipatory anxiety for
days or weeks before the dreaded event, which in turn may further handicap
performance and heighten embarrassment.
Social phobia typically begins in childhood or adolescence and, for many, it is
associated with the traits of shyness and social inhibition. A public humiliation,
severe embarrassment, or other stressful experience may provoke an
intensification of difficulties. Once the disorder is established, complete
remissions are uncommon without treatment. More commonly, the severity
of symptoms and impairments tends to fluctuate in relation to vocational
demands and the stability of social relationships.
The exact cause of social phobia is unknown. However, current research
supports the idea that it is caused by a combination of environmental factors
and genetics. Negative experiences also may contribute to this disorder,
* family conflict
* sexual abuse
and other negative experiences.
|Dawn Cove Abbey
"Roadside Assistance" For Your Journey Through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman M.A © 2007-2020
Questions and comments welcomed.
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Treatment depends on how much social anxiety disorder affects your ability to function in daily
life. The two most common types of treatment for social anxiety disorder are psychotherapy (also
called psychological counseling or talk therapy) or medications or both.
Psychotherapy improves symptoms in most people with social anxiety disorder. In therapy, you
learn how to recognize and change negative thoughts about yourself and develop skills to help
you gain confidence in social situations.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective type of psychotherapy for anxiety, and
it can be equally effective when conducted individually or in groups.
In exposure-based cognitive behavioral therapy, you gradually work up to facing the
situations you fear most. This can improve your coping skills and help you develop the confidence
to deal with anxiety-inducing situations.
NOTE: The Difference Between Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia.
The Difference is distinctive, even though at first glance they appear to be similar or alike, almost.
Socially-anxious people experience horrible anxiety in social situations that lead them to stay
away from other people because of the anxiety it causes. They see anxiety as a "fear" and do not
believe it is caused by a physical, medical condition. Even though they are lonely and would like
to be with other people and enjoy their company, the heightened anxiety this would cause,
overpowers the loneliness. Thus, the socially-anxious person stays alone.
Panic and agoraphobic people are many times very social. In fact, the majority of panic people
enjoy the company of talking and being with other people. Agoraphobia results from the fear of
panic attacks, not from the fear of social interactions; they have no problem engaging in lively
interactions in many situations.
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Dawn Cove Abbey
Deerfield, (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia, Canada - 2008 rev: 2020