Social Phobia

Social phobia is called an anxiety disorder that keeps the person from social life. People with social phobia tend to avoid situations that cause anxiety. So what is social phobia? What are the symptoms and treatment methods? Specialist Clinical Psychologist Ayşe Topak gave information about social phobia.

Everyone has been afraid of something in their life. This is normal, because fear is a defense mechanism that ensures the survival of the human species. These fears are usually temporary and not very intense. It does not affect the person’s daily life. However, in people with social phobia, these fears become persistent and intrusive. There are ways to understand and prevent this situation. The important thing is to analyze the social phobia deeply. So what exactly is social phobia? What are the symptoms? What are the treatments for social phobia? When does social phobia usually start? Specialist Clinical Psychologist Ayşe Topak gave detailed information about social phobia.

What is social phobia?

Social phobia is part of the generalized anxiety disorders family. Social phobia is a fear associated with certain social activities or performance situations in which the person may be watched, embarrassed, humiliated, rejected, or worried about the judgment of others. People with social phobia may panic and try to avoid situations or circumstances that remind them of the object of their fear. Fear of speaking in public or in a meeting, and fear of eating in public are examples of social anxiety.

What are the symptoms of social phobia?

People with social anxiety feel anxious when they encounter something that frightens them or think they have to face it. This anxiety is usually accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms.

  • heart palpitations or rapid heartbeat

  • shaking or twitching, which may be body-wide

  • excessive sweating

  • Muscle aches and pains

  • Abdominal pains;

  • diarrhea or abdominal discomfort;

  • Blushing;

  • Confusion, confusion.

What problems does social phobia cause?

Since people with social phobia can deprive themselves of many situations and environments, their work and social lives are adversely affected. Due to their passive attitudes in business life, their work efficiency may decrease, and their career advancement may be interrupted. In addition, they experience severe social dysfunction. (Keller 2003, Schneir et al. 1992)

What are the causes of social phobia?

According to Beck’s Examination Anxiety Model;

  • Hypersensitivity to reactions related to social acceptance and approval from other people,

  • Fear of failure,

  • The autonomic hyperarousal state due to this is among the reasons for the formation of social phobia.

What are the situations that trigger social phobia?

Situations that need to be done in front of the community, situations where the person has to express his/her own opinion can be shown among the triggering factors. These people also tend to avoid these conditions and situations.

At what age does social phobia usually begin?

Median age of onset is 13 (Kessler et al. 2005)

  • 50% to 80% indicate that the symptoms begin in childhood (Otto et al. 2001)

How is social phobia treated?

Social phobia is a treatable disorder. Treatments enable people with social anxiety to regain control over their lives and daily activities. The sooner a person seeks treatment, the better their chances of recovery. In most cases, social phobia is effectively treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of some of these treatments.

psychotherapy sessions

Experts in anxiety disorders often recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy. This psychotherapy aims to change the person’s problematic thoughts, core beliefs and behaviors and replace them with realistic thoughts and reactions.

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