Is Social Phobia Shyness? Is it a disease?

Professional help and treatment is required if the avoidance behavior due to social phobia negatively affects work or social life, if there is constant tension due to fears and if there has been a decrease in relations with people.

It was thought that social phobia, which was first pronounced in the 60s, was seen very rarely. Evaluation of shyness as shyness or personality structure made it difficult to recognize and treat. Developments in diagnostic criteria and methods in recent years show that social phobia is at a considerable rate.

Social phobia can be defined as the fear of blushing, sweating, trembling hands, doing something wrong, thinking that it will humiliate oneself, while sitting in public, talking, eating, drinking, writing or doing any action.

In social situations, there is an unreasonable, persistent and marked fear of being scrutinized by others or embarrassing in performance situations. In fact, the root cause of the disorder is the fear of being ridiculed in front of others. In other words, they are afraid of embarrassment. awkwardness or inappropriate behavior in public (stuttering, saying the wrong things); flushing, sweating, trembling are the most feared situations.

Socially phobic patients most often have trouble speaking and writing in public and using public restrooms.

Some avoid speaking for fear of saying the wrong thing. Others are afraid that they will forget what to talk about.

Some are afraid to eat or drink in public. They are afraid that their hands will tremble when holding a glass or cutlery, and that they will choke on their food and choke.

Counting money in public, writing on the blackboard in class, dancing, entering a room with someone, talking to someone in authority, or talking to someone of the opposite sex can be a cause for fear. Fear increases as the community grows or becomes more formal.

The anxiety felt in the face of the feared environment or object may be at the level of panic and may cause the person to exhibit clumsy movements. The most common symptoms of social phobias are palpitations, sweating, flushing and trembling. The thought that these symptoms can be seen by other people can further increase the anxiety of the person.

Symptoms of the social phobic person in the face of the feared situation:

* trembling, chills

* Palpitations

* Sweating

* blushing, fading

* Frequent urination

* Diarrhea

* Frequent breathing

* Conflicts

* Feeling of tightness in the stomach

* Dry mouth

* Feeling of a knot in the throat

* restlessness

* Feeling of fear

Patients with pervasive social phobia reek of criticism, disapproval, and make negative self-evaluations. They see themselves as socially inadequate and inferior to others, and have low self-esteem.

False beliefs, such as that others see themselves as worthless, that they need approval from others for their happiness, that it is shameful to appear fearful-troubled, push the person towards being social phobic.

The behavior of the social phobic can be defined as constant avoidance of the feared object or environment and unsuccessful performance in these situations.

In fact, although their performance is not as bad as they thought, they become weaker and weaker as they avoid, drifting towards social isolation and loneliness.

Not participating in social environments or leaving early, avoiding eye contact, social activities are weakened.

* Phobic avoidance may lead to some restrictions in professional and academic fields, appointments, education, and marriage.

* In social phobics, the rate of absenteeism, decrease in work efficiency, dismissal, unemployment rate is quite high, and their economic level decreases significantly.

* The onset of social phobia at a young age can hinder the person’s educational and career goals. Social phobics have lower education levels, and school refusal is quite high.

* Marriage rate of social phobias is lower than in normal society because of the negative effects on people’s relationships, feeling deprived of social support and limited number of close friends.

* In social phobics, the use of alcohol or drugs (tranquilizers) to reduce the distress caused by the social environment is high.

* The prevalence of alcohol problems is 2 times higher in those with social phobia, and the prevalence of social phobia in those with alcohol problems is 9 times higher than in the normal population.

Diseases accompanying social phobia;

* Alcohol addiction 18%

* Drug abuse 13%

* Depression 35-50%

* Agoraphobia 45%

* The suicide rate in social phobics is 5 times higher than in the general population.

Differences of social phobics to the normal population:

* High rates of living alone

* Business life has ups and downs

* Social Isolation

* Low education levels

* Economically ill or dependent

* High suicidal thoughts

* High addiction to alcohol and drugs

Onset: It is in the 10’s and it can usually start between the ages of 13-19, but it can also occur in children and in the thirties.

In young children, social phobia can manifest as crying, tantrums, freezing, school refusal, and avoidance of social situations.

It may not be an initiating factor or trigger an embarrassing event.


* It has been understood that the fear of failure develops and they are prone to social phobia in children who are punished when they behave incompatible with the wishes and expectations of the parents, but are not rewarded when they comply with the behavior pattern determined by the parents.

* In our country, shyness and shyness are common in terms of acting freely in society due to the mistakes in the way of raising children (suppression, excessive obedience and respect, shame), and this makes us as a society predisposed to social phobia.


The lifetime prevalence of social phobia is approximately 10%. It is understood that more than 10% of the society is affected. It is more common in men and the male/female ratio is 3/2.

Admission and Treatment:

Social phobia is a chronic, uninterrupted disease.

* The young onset of the disease, the high level of education, and the absence of any other accompanying psychiatric disease are the factors that ensure positive results from the treatment.

* It is understood that only 25% of social phobics receive treatment.

* Good response is obtained from the treatment method in which drugs and psychotherapy are applied together for at least 6 months.


* Social phobia; It is a common and limiting serious disease.

* It is a severe picture that affects their private and business lives, causes stress and socioeconomic problems, and causes isolation from society.

* The main reason is the fear of being ridiculed and humiliated in front of others.

* If left untreated, the risk of alcohol-drug addiction and suicide is high.

* It is a disease that responds well to treatment.

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