Social phobia: causes and treatment

Svetlana Rumyantseva

What is social phobia? This is a mental illness, the main feature of which -social fear of certain situations. Sociophobic is a person who is not afraid of society, but of those experiences that a person experiences, getting into the spotlight. Sociophobes experience anxiety and panic because of fear of being in an absurd position or being humiliated by others.

Social interaction with people for a person with an extreme stage of social phobia is not possible. The likelihood of appearances in public, being among the crowd and even a phone call from an unfamiliar number causes panic attacks in sociophobes. What is the cause of this disorder and how to get rid of social phobia alone or with someone else’s help once and for all?

How is social phobia manifested?

Social phobia is a fairly common mental disorder. It is found everywhere, but more often in the developed countries of Europe.Only a psychotherapist can diagnose social phobia, but there are also general manifestations of fear.

Anxiety arises in sociophobes unconsciously. This feeling is uncontrollable. Manifestations of social phobia are similar to panic attacks. Before speaking in public or doing something else in the presence of other people, the social phobia feels nervous, his face reddens, his limbs tremble, and his heart starts beating fast.

Sociophobes refuse to solve problems, if this requires attracting people's attention. Often, people who have a fear of interacting with others, completely refuse to communicate and lead the life of a hermit. Sociophobes may refuse to help the doctor, visiting crowded places, training, etc.

People exposed to social phobia, have a sense of fear to hear critical remarks or get a negative assessment of their actions.Constant companions of social phobia: anxiety, irritability, fear, shyness and embarrassment. All this makes a person unhappy and does not allow him to live in harmony with the outside world.

Social phobia is a barrier to happiness and harmonious existence.

Social phobia has a focus. Social phobia is not afraid of communication with others, but of interaction with people in specific situations or conditions. Common situations when a social phobia is afraid:

answers or reports in the schoolin front of fellow students, a commission or other large audience;
interview with a recruiterduring employment;
official meetingsand communication with partners or customers;
communication with managementor a person of authority;
communication with unfamiliar peopleor strangers on the street;
enter into dialogue with the interlocutor without visual contactSuppose by phone or Skype;
ordinary actions in crowded places(social phobats are afraid to eat in restaurants, read in libraries, talk in public);
first datewith a man of the opposite sex;
An event where more than ten people gather;
shoppingand visiting shopping centers;
use of public toilet;
performances, competitions, toasting to feasts and otherevents involving increased attention of others.

Social phobia is manifested not only in physical and emotional symptoms, but also changes a person’s behavior. Social habits often develop nervous habits, difficulty concentrating, sleep is disturbed and physical activity increases.

sociopath - a person who is afraid of increased attention of others

Sociophobes avoid activities that involve increased attention of others

The study of social phobia as a disease began only with the advent of the new millennium, although such a diagnosis appeared in the late 60s. Nowadaysmanifestations of social phobia are subject to 10-13% of people around the world. What is the prerequisite and what are the causes of social phobia?

What are the causes of social phobia?

Sociopathy rarely begins after 20 years. Sources of this personality disorder should be looked for in childhood.The first manifestations of social phobia are observed at the age of ten. During this period, the child first encounters social situations requiring stress resistance.

In school years, as they grow older, children realize that they can be publicly ridiculed and criticized by adults or peers for their “puncture”.Child cruelty also contributes to this, when the whole class makes it an object for ridicule and bullying - the white crow. Children declare boycotts as a punishment for the offending classmate, and teachers, due to lack of professionalism or the severity of the education system, often "add fuel to the fire."

The causes of social phobia lie in a young age.

The social life of schoolchildren includes both public praise and public humiliation. The pedagogical council, reprimands on the line and the general class meeting do not help the child in social adaptation, but, on the contrary, can lead to the development of social phobia.Public humiliation hurts the child, and in the future to overcome the fear of being ridiculed in public is difficult.

Such situations are not the only cause of social phobia. Others stand outpsychological background:

incorrect education, excessive severity of parents or hyperope;
inadequate assessment of the events of the parents, unfair punishment;
making high demands and expectations for the child’s behavior;
negative criticism in the period of the formation of personality and maturity;
frequent conflict situations and lack of approval of actions and statements;
cold mothers or injuries associated with separation from parents at an early age;
suppression of the gender definition of the child and sexuality in early manifestations;
lack of morality in the environment and negative in the aspect of ethics and public understanding of life;
acute perception of material problems;
Negative experience of relations with the opposite sex, possibly sexual violence;
diseases of a somatic nature.

how to overcome social phobia yourself

Independent struggle with social phobia can lead to the emergence of other ailments

In addition to the psychological causes of social phobia, scientists identify andprerequisites of physiological nature:

genetic predisposition. Researchers of social phobia are working on the selection of the gene responsible for fears. It is likely that the disease is transmitted through the hereditary line;
imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Serotonin - a substance responsible for emotionality, can influence the manifestation of social phobia. Pharmacological drugs designed to treat social disorder are based on the regulation of serotonin;
cerebellar amygdala - part of the brain responsible for anxiety and fears, with increased activity affects the manifestation of social phobia.

The emergence of social phobia in an adult is preceded by depression and apathy.Fear of others is manifested in women twice as often as in representatives of the strong half of humanity. Oddly enough, but social phobia is mostly found among married people, educated and intellectually developed people. And such people often ask themselves the question: “What should I do and how should I live if I am a social phobia?” The question is not of a rhetorical one. A person is able to figure out how to cope with social phobia.

How to get rid of social phobia yourself? as a matter of fact independence consists in the reference to the psychotherapist

One of the manifestations of social phobia is the fear of public speaking

Self-medication: how to overcome social phobia on your own?

The inability to interact with others is fatal. Sociophobe realizes that everything is not right with him, that social contacts are important, and living in fear is painful. There is no person suffering from this disease who has not tried to decide for himself how to fight social phobia on his own and live a full life.

Overcome the fear of interaction with people sociopath often tries on their own, as going to the doctor and further treatment of social phobia by a professional for such a patient is accompanied by an insurmountable fear. Besides,in Russia there are not so many professionals working with such a psychological phenomenon as social phobia. Really knowing how to treat social phobia, a psychotherapist is not as easy to find as it seems at first glance.

If you do not engage in the treatment of social phobia, then diseases more serious will arise on its basis. For example, depression, alcoholism and drug addiction. The chain is simple. Alcohol or drugs create a panacea for fear of interaction with society. A person uses alcohol and drugs more often, so as not to experience fear and anxiety. The problem is not solved in this way, and the situation is aggravated, because a plus to social phobia comes from dependence on self-destructive treatment.

Alcohol is more susceptible to social phobia men. Women go to the other extreme - hiding behind the role of housewife. Sociophobia among ladies is sometimes exacerbated by the fact that a woman does not imagine an elementary outlet to the store for food, and her entire social life is limited to communicating with family members.

Self-treatment of social phobia in men often leads to alcohol dependence, in women - to the extreme degree of the disease.

How to cure social phobia?

Social phobia is positioned by scientists as a potentially dangerous disease. With a negative development, social phobia can cause panic personality disorder. The combination of psychotherapeutic and drug treatment can overcome social phobia.

The main treatments for social phobia includebehavioral psychotherapy. Therapy aims to achieve a sustainable result. The goal of the program is to teach a social phobia to objectively assess situations when interaction with people is necessary. The patient begins to perceive negative thoughts and images that cause anxiety and fear, calmer and more optimistic. After a course of treatment, the person stops avoiding interaction with society, adequately perceives criticism and freely experiences situations that previously cause anxiety and fear.


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