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"I could not accept invitations or go to parties. When I entered a crowded place, I blushed and felt that all eyes were on me. I was ashamed to put myself in a corner but I couldn't think of what to say to anyone. I felt so clumsy that I wanted to go."
Social phobia is an intense fear of becoming humiliated in social situations, especially of acting in such a way that one is placed in a shameful situation in front of other people. It is often hereditary and may be accompanied by depression or alcoholism. It begins at the beginning of adolescence or even earlier.
Social phobia affects 15% of the population, it is a highly treatable anxiety disorder.
- 1 Dreaded situations
- 2 Physical symptoms
- 3 Cognitive symptoms
- Public speaking
- Act before a hearing
- Write or sign before a person
- Use public services (bar, cinema, public toilets)
- Enter places where people are sitting
- Look into each other's eyes (especially the opposite sex)
- Be in the limelight
- Participate in meetings
- Start a conversation
- Hold a conversation
- Propose or go to appointments
- Talk to people of authority
- Attend parties
- Talking on phone
- Meet new people
- Talk to strangers
- Give or defend one's opinions
- Express disagreement
- Make a complaint
- Make or accept compliments
- Muscle tension
- Dry mouth
- Feeling of oppression in the head
- Gastrointestinal discomfort (emptiness in the stomach, diarrhea)
- Tremors (hands-voice)
- Shaking chills
- Urinary urgency
The central nucleus of social phobia is the fear of negative evaluation, the person thinks that he is being judged or criticized by others.
Not knowing how to behave properly or competently,
Be seen as anxious, weak, crazy or stupid
Fear of manifesting anxiety symptoms.
"I'm going to make a fool of myself"
"I will be blocked and I will not know what to say"
"I'm sure you're not interested in my opinion"
"They will realize how nervous I am"
"They'll think I'm dumb, they'll be laughing at me"
Avoidance-escape from the feared situations: the person stops performing the situations he is afraid of. At first, it will save anxious suffering, but inevitably the cognitive component of the disorder will worsen within a few minutes.
Protective behaviors to reduce anxiety: in the face of fear of blushing, leaving a beard, putting on excessive makeup, wearing large sunglasses, or long hair directed towards the face, in fear of trembling, place your hands in your pockets or behind , at meetings they will refrain from asking questions, they will drink without speaking, or if they speak they will do so without looking up.
Even if this disorder is often confused with shyness, they are not the same. Shy people may feel very uncomfortable when they are with other people, but they do not experience extreme anxiety in anticipating a social situation and do not necessarily avoid circumstances that make them feel self-conscious. Instead, people with a social phobia are not necessarily shy. They may feel totally comfortable with other people, but in special situations, such as giving a speech, they may experience intense anxiety.
Social phobia upsets normal life, interfering with a career or a social relationship. For example, a worker may stop accepting a promotion at work because they cannot make presentations in public. Fear of a social event can begin weeks before and symptoms can be exhausting.
Approximately 80% of people who suffer from this disorder find relief from their symptoms when they receive cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, or a combination of both.
Cano-Vindel, A., & Espada Largo, F. J. (2003). Social phobia and simple phobia: differences and similarities in clinical manifestations.Anxiety and Stress, 9(1), 49-57