What is Social Phobia?
Social Phobia is a situation wherein you would experience anxiety or fear while performing in front of an audience or interacting in social outings.
It is also known as Social Anxiety Disorder. Individuals develop fear or anxiety in social situations due to fear of being judged by others or laughed at or being denigrated in front of others.
Situations where discomfort may be exhibited?
Social anxiety may be exhibited by individuals at a host of social settings including:
- Birthday parties
- Wedding functions
- Office parties
- Talking to strangers
Signs and symptoms of Social Phobia?
Common symptoms of social fears are
- Sweating profusely
The very precipitation of these symptoms may lead to enhanced anxiety as the individual may worry about getting in limelight due to these symptoms. This fear is though largely unfounded as these symptoms do not invite others attention.
Research is being conducted in prevalence of social anxiety disorder and current statistics suggest that around 11 percent of Aussies suffer from such phobia in their lifetime. In any year, around 5 percent of Aussie population may experience symptoms of this disorder.
Research is also indicating that social phobia is more likely to happen to women and generally starts developing during formative years (ie, childhood and adolescence).
Causes of Social Phobia
Researchers are exploring the following reasons as causes of social anxiety:
- Genetic predisposition – some researchers believe that certain sections of population have genes that predisposes them to this disorder.
- Past experience – Past experience of being made fun of in public or experiencing shame or bullying may lead to development of social phobia
- Temperament – Children and adolescents who are shy are particularly at risk. Researchers are exploring whether certain behaviours like being clingy, shyness, easily shedding tears and timidness that are exhibited by certain children, put them at risk for social phobia?
Social phobias are treatable through psychotherapy, especially, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Psychodynamic Therapy. In extreme cases a combination of medication and CBT works very well.
If you fear you suffer from social phobia and wish to explore psychotherapy as a treatment, please feel free to contact our team.