Social phobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by devastating episodes of anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Individuals with social phobia are constrained by their condition; they have a chronic fear of being judged by others, making social situations difficult. A panic attack due to social phobia can arise from almost any situation where the person feels uncomfortable. Usual occurrences such as eating and drinking in front of others may cause an episode. Public speaking has been labeled as one of the worst triggers for social phobia. Social phobia can have a negative effect on someone’s life and prevent them from prospering in their day-to-day ventures.
Social phobia is one of the most common types of anxiety disorders. Over 5 million adults live with this disorder. Research shows that it is the third largest psychological problem in the United States. Medical professionals agree that treating social phobia in the past has been a difficult battle.
In the past, social phobia was consistently misdiagnosed resulting in many people living with an untreated anxiety disorder. Today, doctors and medical professionals working in the field better understand social phobia and how to administer treatment. Researchers are currently studying whether social phobia is pre-disposed genetically. There has been some evidence found to support this theory.
Social Phobia Symptoms
Severe symptoms of social phobia may cause interference with ordinary activities. This disorder can affect someone’s career, relationships, daily routine. There are both physical and psychological symptoms associated with this disorder.
Physical symptoms include:
- Stuttered speech
- Muscle tension
Psychological Symptoms Include:
- Intense worry
- Excessive self conscious anxiety
- Fear of taking action
- Racing thoughts
There are a number of different ways someone suffering from social phobia can be treated. Clinicians and therapists help to rehabilitate individuals with social phobia so they no longer suffer from the disorder. There are also safe non-narcotic medications that have helped thousands of people with social phobia. A common method used by therapists to treat social phobias is cognitive behavioral therapy.
A number of therapeutic models have been tested, but according to medical professionals, cognitive therapy has proven to be most effective. The therapy is put in place to help change patterns and physical reactions to anxiety-inducing situations. According to experts, those with social phobia respond best to short-term therapy. Therapists agree that social phobia can be overcome with the proper treatment.
Social phobia can feel debilitating. Research shows those who suffer with social phobia also deal with depression. Medical professionals have dedicated time to researching and understanding social phobia and other related anxiety disorders. This is a disorder that may seem difficult to overcome, but with the right treatment it can be dealt with. Thousands of people who have dealt with social phobia can now do the things they never thought possible.