Social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder is the most common of all anxiety disorders. But what is the difference between simply being shy and true social phobia? How does it affect a person’s life?
A lot of people feel ill and uneasy during social situations, however, people who suffer from social phobia often experience such extreme fear, humiliation, scrutiny, or being judged by others that they may have a panic attack or simply avoid social situations altogether.
Fear of public speaking is the most common form of social phobia. It’s also typical to fear social situations to the extent that even the possibility of interpersonal interaction can cause extreme distress or an overwhelming desire to escape or avoid the situation.
Some social phobias are confined to situations such as extreme fear using a public restroom, eating with strangers, making a phone call, being called on a meeting, or having to meet new people.
Different symptoms may be experienced by a person with social phobia such as dizziness, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, trembling or weakness when they aren’t able to avoid the fear. Blushing phobia, also known as erythrophobia may also accompany social phobia. People with blushing phobia typically experience uncontrolled blushing, even in casual social situations. Knowing that others see them blushing causes considerable embarrassment and nervousness.
People with social phobia may recognize that their fears are excessive and unreasonable, yet they typically are not able to control their anxiety, as well as the psychological and physical reaction when they come real close with their fear’s source.
Typically, social phobia develops between the ages of 11 and 15, and rarely after the age of 25. while social phobia affects both genders, women are twice as likely as men to develop social phobia or fear of social situations.
Lastly, social phobia may become so debilitating that it can keep a person from being successful at work or school, as well as prevent them from experiencing enjoyable activities with colleagues, family, and friends.
A person with social phobia can obtain relief from their fear of social situations and anxiety by asking to advise from a trained therapist.
Treatment for social phobia includes behavioral therapy, medication or often a combination of the two. Behavior therapy helps social phobia sufferers through relaxation techniques, coping skills and cognitive therapies that may help change unwanted patterns through controlled exposure to their fear.
The medications that are used in treating social phobia often include anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs which can help lessen the symptoms and enhance the effectiveness of therapy.