Phobia of Social Situations | Social Phobia


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Out of all anxiety disorders the phobia dictionary labels social anxiety disorder, which is also known as social phobia, as the number one anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder is just as it sounds it is the anxiety and fear of being in social situations. Roughly 12% of all Americans will experience some form of social phobia with in their lifetime. Out of those 12%, half have developed the disorder during their childhood. Approximately, 80% of all people who suffer from social anxiety phobia have developed the disorder before their 20th birthday.

Social phobia is characterized by having an intense fear in one or more social situations. This phobia can cause considerable distress and compare the ability to function in at least part of a person’s daily life. These fears can be triggered by perceived or actual scrutiny from others.

A person that suffers from social anxiety disorder will fill very self conscience and pay close attention to their actions during and after the activity. They will have a high standard that they have set for themselves that they often feel they failed at during the social situation. This phobia exceeds the normal shyness of people. It can lead to isolation and excessive social avoidance. Person who suffers from social phobia will go to any lengths to avoid small groups, parties, talking to strangers, interviews, going to restaurants, even dating. They will strive to avoid almost any social interaction in which they feel that they could be scrutinized.

A person who suffers from social phobia will have physiological effects similar to any other anxiety disorder. When confronted with a social situation a person who has social phobia may be nauseated, have difficulty breathing, experience heart palpitations, sweating, shaking, and may even exhibit walking disturbances as if they are off balance when going past a group of people.

Patients who suffer from a social phobia often have low self-esteem and clinical depression. Some people to try to reduce their anxiety and alleviate their depression through the use of alcohol or drugs which can lead to substance abuse. Frequently those who have been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder are also diagnosed with clinical depression due to the lack of personal relationships and long isolation.

This condition is so common that many celebrities suffer from social phobia. Each of the celebrities admit to feeling more at ease when no one is around and often try to avoid as many group activities as possible. Some of these celebrities include:

Each of these celebrities learned to deal with their condition.

There is treatment for those who suffer from social anxiety disorder. One of the first things that is suggested by the phobia dictionary is psychotherapy. Psychotherapy usually includes cognitive behavior therapy that will help the patient learn how they can cope with their feelings of inadequacy and fear. They learn how to remain calm within social situations through exposure to those situations after they learn techniques to calm and relaxed themselves. Techniques such as muscle relaxation exercises and deep breathing which may be practiced during the exposure are some key techniques psychotherapist use.

In cases of extreme social phobia, psychotherapist may also include medication such as an SSRI or antidepressant. These medications can help take the edge off of the feelings of anxiety and inadequacy long enough for the person to learn the coping techniques necessary to live their daily life. Antianxiety medications can be habit-forming and should not be taken for long periods of time. That is why they are typically used in conjunction with psychotherapy and cognitive behavior modification.


fear of social situations
Phobia Dictionar