Healthzia – We all feel shy or nervous at times when it comes to things like presentations to class or maybe on a first date. This is certainly natural. However, if social interactions that seem normal like making eye contact or just chatting are making you feel anxious and very uncomfortable, then you may have social phobia.
In people who have social phobia, daily interactions can lead to shame, insecurity, insecure, and fear of other people’s judgments of them.
All of these feelings appear in such an excessive amount that they interfere with your daily life, such as making you unproductive at work and locking yourself up at home.
Social phobia can also be referred to as social anxiety disorder and is one of the most common mental conditions. So, this condition is very likely to be cured, as long as you are willing to seek help.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) approximately 15 million American adults have social anxiety disorder. Symptoms of this disorder may start around the age of 13.
What Symptoms of Social Phobia ?
Symptoms of social anxiety disorder or social phobia may appear particularly in the following situations:
- On a date
- Make eye contact with other people
- Interact with strangers
- Eat in front of other people
- Work or go to school
- Entering a room full of people
- Attend parties or gatherings
Therefore, sufferers will usually avoid a number of situations above.
The fear felt by people with social phobia does not only last for a moment, but is permanent, and will cause physical symptoms in the form of:
- Red face
- Talk too softly
- Stiff posture
- Muscles become tense
- Excessive sweating
- Heart beat
- Hard to breathe
What caused it ?
Social phobia or social anxiety disorder can be triggered by new situations or things that have not been done before, such as a public presentation or giving a speech.
Although the exact cause is not known, this condition is thought to be related to the following factors:
- Past events. Social phobia can arise because the sufferer has experienced embarrassing or unpleasant events that other people have witnessed.
- Heredity or upbringing. Social phobia tends to run in families. However, it is not yet certain whether this is triggered by genetic factors or due to parenting styles, for example too restrictive. Another possibility is that children imitate the attitude of their parents who often feel anxious when dealing with other people.
- Brain structure. Fear is greatly influenced by a part of the brain called the amygdala. An overactive amygdala will cause a person to experience greater fear. This condition can increase the risk of developing excessive anxiety when interacting with other people.
Apart from some of the factors above, having certain body conditions or diseases, such as scarring on the face or paralysis due to polio, can increase a person’s risk of suffering from social phobia.
How to handle it ?
There are several things you can try to help reduce the intensity and frequency, such as:
- Try to better understand the anxiety you are experiencing, so you can set strategies for dealing with it.
- Stop imagining things that are irrational to the social situation to be faced.
- Don’t think too much about what other people say about you. Remember that your signs of social phobia may not be obvious, so don’t be afraid to be judged badly.
- Face your fear. Don’t shy away from social interactions. Try to slowly start trying to start interacting. However, you will see that social interactions are not that bad.
In addition, you can also see a psychologist or psychiatrist to treat this condition. Usually, psychiatrists will provide one or a combination of the following treatments.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. In this therapy, the therapist will help you recognize negative thoughts that occur and behavior changes that occur and help to change them.
- Self-therapy. Therapists can provide manuals or tutoring online.
- Antidepressant drugs. Psychiatrists can also prescribe antidepressants to help reduce phobic symptoms.
The sooner you start social phobia treatment, the sooner your life will return to normal. Don’t hesitate to ask for professional help if your phobia really interferes with your daily life.