A fear causes extreme anxiety and excessive self-consciousness especially when person is surrounded by people. Person feel blushing, muscle tension, profuse sweating, shaky feelings, stomach upset, diarrhea, pounding heart, confusion and difficulty to focus on.
Fear can be weeks or months before an event takes place and a lot of worry about something bad will happen increases patient's discomfort. Person lead extremely stressful life with preoccupation of he/she will make mistake, will be humiliated or criticized.
Sometime intensity of fear is so severe people will avoid social events, classes or parties. Fear becomes worse by a lack of social skills or previous bad experience in social situation. Such person is unable to form and maintain good relationship with others.
According to the social anxiety research clinic, at the New York state psychiatric institute and Columbia university medical center, social anxiety disorder is categorized into two subtypes:
- Generalized type: Patient fear most social and performance situations.
- Non-generalized type: Patient fear is typically limited to public speaking or other performance activity.
Exact reason for social phobia is still not known. Researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have found that social phobia runs in families. Involvement of different parts of brain and neurotransmitter imbalance may be the probable reason for anxiety symptoms.
Scientist also thought psychological and environmental factors for occurrence of social phobia. Previous embarrassing experience at social event or after seeing what happens to someone else as the result of their behavior increases negative feeling in patient of social phobia.
Overcoming with social phobia: Diagnosis of social phobia is done by physical examination and detail history of patient.
Management of social phobia is either by psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and medicines.
Psychotherapy means psychological counselling of patient, which is an effective way to minimize the severity of symptoms of social phobia. Expert counselor or psychiatrist give training regarding how to handle underlying anxiety, cope with negative symptoms or develop social skills that will help in improvement of self-esteem.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a part of psychotherapy, where main focus is to make patient more comfortable with the situations that trigger anxiety. With cognitive behavioral therapy patient thinks in a more rational way to change own thoughts to tackle with situation. It teaches person about how to react differently to situations that arise fear. It involves systematic desensitization and real life exposure.
In systematic desensitization, patient imagine frightening situation and work on fear in a safe and relaxed environment. While in real life exposure, initially patient is exposed to fear situation. Then patient is trained how to build confidence and handle criticism or rejection and use anxiety management techniques to cope with disappointments. He/she is also trained about how to develop positive response to fear and how to comprehend disapproval.
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