Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Disorder

Phobias are irrational, involuntary, and inappropriate fears of and responses to ordinary things and situations. Phobias are divided into tree different categories: Specific Phobia, Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder), and Agoraphobia. We will cover each of these different types of phobias in the next couple of newsletters.

Social Phobia, otherwise known as Social Anxiety Disorder, is an intense and persistent fear of social situations and exposure to social situations that can result in anxiety or a panic attack. However, the most common physical reaction to Social Phobia is blushing. The focus of this phobia stems from anticipated embarrassment associated with any social situation. Also, the patient may be concerned about seeming to be anxious, weak, or stupid by others. For example, a patient with Social Anxiety Disorder may be afraid of public speaking because others may notice her shaking hands and voice. Although the patient may realize that her fear is unreasonable or excessive, she still goes to great lengths to try to avoid the situation. The avoidance, fear, and anxiety associated with a Social Phobia can significantly disrupt the patient’s daily life and occupational and social functioning. Children, adolescents and adults are all susceptible to Social Phobias.

In regards to treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder, an aggressive combination of therapy and medication is highly effective.

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