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What is The Social Phobia .. and what is its treatment?

What is social phobia  - AWRAQ Community Papers

The Social Phobia

 Social anxiety disorder or what is called social phobia is an anxiety disorder. A person with this type of disorder experiences fear and anxiety in some or all social situations (such as: meeting new people, a job interview, speaking in a meeting in front of a group of people, being present At parties ... etc) or until he is anxious when doing what he usually does but in front of others (such as eating in a restaurant, using public facilities, etc.) and anxiety turns into fear, and what a person is most afraid of is being rejected or insulted, or being Judged by others. Fear in these social situations is so severe that it is difficult to control and as a result of this fear the person suffers from difficulty in continuing to be present in these social situations, so he resorts to not going to work, for example, school, party, meeting, etc., in order to avoid fear.

A person may experience symptoms of this disorder in social performance situations only, such as: dancing, singing, giving speech..etc

Symptoms of social anxiety:

During social situations or a particular performance, a person with this disorder tends to experience the following:

  • Facial flushing, sweating, increased heart rate, trembling, feeling sick, stiffness in the body.
  • Speak in a low voice and have poor eye contact.
  • He feels afraid to be with others, especially those who do not really know him, and finds it difficult to talk to them despite his desire to do so.
  • He feels very shy in addition to the embarrassment and strangeness of the situation, so that he is never comfortable.
  • Fear of being judged by others.
  • Avoid going to places where he has to meet people.
  • Adults know that their fear or anxiety is unjustified, unlike children.
  • The cause of this concern should not be a medication, a specific drug, or another physical or psychological disorder.
  • Fear that the situation will lead to humiliation or embarrassment.

Children usually express this anxiety in behaviors when they are in such social situations as crying or tantrums, while adolescents express severe shyness or feelings of embarrassment and discomfort, and at the age of youth the symptoms appear the same, but severely and for a longer period, which makes the person take actions to avoid these situations A young man may run away from school because of this anxiety and fail there.

The reasons for the emergence of this concern:

Symptoms of social anxiety usually appear early between the ages of 10 and 19 years, that is, in early adolescence to early youth, genetic and environmental factors contribute to the emergence of this anxiety. In a brain imaging study it was found that people who suffer from this anxiety and compared to others who do not suffer from it that There is excessive activity in a region of the brain called the amygdala (an area responsible for processing emotions, especially fear) when they speak in front of a crowd, see pictures of angry people, or look at them with disdain or disgust.

And others argue that misreading the behavior of others may play a role in the presence of social anxiety (such as: you may think that someone is staring at you or grouchy, but in reality he may not be) and that the development of social skills may be weak, so this is a contributing factor in social anxiety disorder.

How is social phobia treated?

It is usually treated with what is called cognitive-behavioral therapy or drug therapy and sometimes both, CBT helps to change thoughts and perceptions towards the same situation and how to act and face fear and negative feelings, and as for drug therapy, it is used in these cases either anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants or beta-blockers Here, the doctor prescribes these drugs (for sensitivity) in the amount and duration that suit each individual separately.

Sometimes people who suffer from this phobia may find that the support groups are helpful and helpful to him, these groups are composed of people who also suffer from this phobia, and here the group supports each other so that the person discovers that his ideas or judgments that he used to put on the situations are not correct.

 Phobia related to early age:

In a study conducted on a sample of 210 patients suffering from social phobia, they found that the most common period for its onset is in adolescence (between the ages of 14 and 17) and childhood (before the age of 10), where the research was interested in knowing the association of the emergence of phobia symptoms at an early age. And the chances of its continuation and increase in severity with age, which is already proven. The researchers stated that the presence of social phobia at an early age may be related to long-term depressive disorder or poor performance such as school dropout, unemployment, and others.

In previous studies, it was found that those who appeared to have social phobia at an early age expressed severe anxiety, responded less to treatment, and were more likely to suffer from depression compared to those who developed phobias at a later time. Therefore, early detection and intervention may help reduce some of the long-term negative effects of social phobia, such as increased severity of the disorder, the appearance of symptoms of depression, functional impairment and emotional disturbances.

Also, dealing with the negative effects that help the emergence of phobias early may be useful in mitigating the negative consequences of phobia.

Effective treatments for childhood social phobia range from cognitive-behavioral therapy to a combination of psychological education (information for parents and children about the nature of social anxiety) and pharmacotherapy.

- Researchers are still trying to find the real causes of this anxiety, whether by searching in areas of the brain or external environmental factors that cause it, and thus this will contribute to finding appropriate treatments... Despite that if you suffer from this anxiety and the like, persevere Treatment and do not give up, treatment may take some time, and a healthy lifestyle may help you get rid of anxiety, so get enough sleep, exercise, healthy food, and get support from your family and friends.

Prepared by Tala Hourani

Read also: What do you know about Prosopagnosia (face blindness disorder)?



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