Anxiety disorders are some of the most widely diagnosed conditions today. Psychologists claim that the current pace of life makes people more likely to develop some type of mental condition. In addition, it is important to consider that the way of interacting at the social level varies remarkably in each generation, region and society.

wide variety of phobias have been identified , each of them has particular characteristics and the origin of the fear is different. Officially, there are approximately more than 200 types of phobias, some of them are more common than others, which is why some are totally unknown to a part of the population.

One of the most common phobias is social phobia, statistically at least 45% of the population has characteristics that are related to this condition. These people are usually extremely shy , they tend not to participate in social situations that make them feel like they are the center of attention.

What is social phobia? 

Social phobia is considered a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by experiencing irrational fear of facing any social situation. People with this condition describe feeling watched , judged, and continually being scrutinized by people they don’t trust.

One way to identify people who suffer from this phobia is their anxious and shy behavior . They usually have difficulties to be able to integrate into any group of people, this means that they do not have the necessary skills to be able to establish direct and clear communication. In addition, they present other types of difficulties that prevent them from maintaining a fluid interaction with any unknown person.

It is considered to be one of the most common types of phobia because statistically a large majority of people experience anxiety in social situations. The intensity of the symptoms that are experienced during certain situations are a clear indication that they feel an unjustified danger. The behavior of these individuals is often described as inappropriate and excessive, this means that they cannot adapt to any context in which they do not feel comfortable.

What are the characteristics of social phobia? 

The main characteristic of social phobia is shyness, clumsiness, discomfort and difficulty integrating and feeling comfortable in certain social situations. People who have been diagnosed with this condition usually avoid any public event, even within their academic and work environment, they tend to prefer to go unnoticed. 

As with other types of phobias, these represent an important limitation in people’s lives. This means that it is not possible to lead a normal life living with other people, social phobia is the clear manifestation of not having enough social tools to interact with other individuals .

This condition can occur in people of any gender or age , there are no limitations for the development of this condition. Statistically, a small margin of difference is observed between male and female people, however, in terms of age range, it is more common in young people between 15 and 45 years of age.

Another striking feature is the manifestation of extreme concern to be the center of attention. These people prefer to be ignored or simply only interact with them if necessary. They tend to fear being observed when they perform any activity such as reading, writing, walking, eating or any other. In most cases they express fear of the opinions of third parties. 

In the same way, these same individuals will avoid addressing the public through a speech or an exhibition as much as possible. In the most severe cases, you may have difficulty engaging in conversations with family, friends, and work or study colleagues. This represents a major problem in certain work situations, especially when it comes to serving potential clients or when a claim must be made.

There is also a tendency to shy away from spaces where a large number of people gather, it is especially relevant when it comes to closed spaces such as offices. In these cases, people affected with this phobia feel anxiety about the possibility of suffering an experience in which they are humiliated in public .

Some of the most common physical manifestations are constant blushing , difficulty speaking fluently, increased sweating palpitations , tremors and finally mental block. In the latter case, these people usually do not know how to behave in these situations, which means that they are not able to integrate into a conversation due to lack of concentration.

What are your causes? 

The causes of the development of social phobia are usually related to other psychological conditions. There is a greater propensity in those cases where there is a previous diagnosis of anxiety disorders of another type. These people are vulnerable to feeling irrational fear in situations that they know they cannot control, increasing stress levels if they feel judged by other people.

The first manifestations usually begin to be perceived during adolescence , in some other cases also during childhood. At this stage of the development of the individual, important socialization tools are learned, and the first experiences that bring them closer to maturity are had, such as speaking in public or giving opinions.

As for the possible causes, in these specific cases it may be due to trauma. This hypothesis becomes more relevant when children grow up in an overprotected environment , these minors have few opportunities to experience social situations that provide them with the necessary tools for their future.

It should also be taken into consideration that this is a pathology that will affect both men and women in the same way. Some individuals are more likely to develop dependence on alcohol or drugs , these resources can be used as disinhibitors and to facilitate social relationships. Therefore, it is considered that social phobia will generate the development of other conditions eventually.

What is your treatment? 

The treatments that are usually applied in these cases tend to focus on correcting the behavior of these individuals . That is, the therapist or psychologist oriented to the patient so that he learns how to control himself in certain social situations. In the same way, other tools such as meditation are provided, the purpose is to recover a normal social life.

However, in the most serious cases it is normal for specialists to decide to prescribe antidepressants or anxiolytics to patients . These medications do not cure this pathology, however they facilitate the performance of behavioral treatment.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is currently considered the most effective treatment . Being is based on the realization of evaluations and practices that help to understand and change the thoughts of the affected person. Subsequently, it will be sought how to replace them with more positive ones that avoid generating anxiety in the patient.

It is also used in exposure therapy , but in this case it is recommended to do it with caution so as not to aggravate this condition. This will be done by directly exposing the patient to situations that are the source of fear. To be effective, different sections are planned in which the patient gradually becomes more involved.

Group therapy is also applied , in this way that the patient will have social contact within a safer environment. The important thing is that the patient begins to implement changes in their lifestyle that promote learning and assimilation of important communication tools. In this way, it will eventually be able to integrate in a better way to its environment.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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