Social phobiaSocial phobia, as a phobia is an irrational fear and exaggerated to a fact or situation that other people may cause them some anxiety, but little else. There are many types of phobias depending on what theme is, whether a particular animal, like the spider in the case of Arachnophobia, or small, as in the claustrophobicspaces. Social phobia is a fear of unjustified feel Court for others, or to be in a situation that leave out the person or embarrass it to others.
There are several theories about how phobias arise, but most authors accept that it is due to a negative experience that marks the individual, either because he has lived it in first person, or because we have seen the consequences suffered by another person. In the case of social phobia, it should to the fact found in a shameful situation or is it evaluated him socially, or by having seen through other such circumstances, being the fear of negative consequences that fear will accompany the affected during their lifetime if not faced with the problem that originates.
It is, therefore, of a fear learned and that, therefore, can unlearn with adequate specific treatment. If not, the person will tend to avoid situations in which may be exposed to an audience, even in the workplace, to avoid being judged by others; a situation which, if untreated, becomes chronic and may affect you negatively, both in your job and in your personal life, and all this despite knowing that what is suffering from is an exaggeration, but that makes him incapable of controlling his thoughts in advance about the negative consequences.
Symptoms and manifestations of social phobiaIn a social context, in which what matters is not if there are three or three hundred people, who suffer social phobia will experience a number of symptoms which, according to its intensity or gravity, will be more or less disabling, among them:
- High levels of anxiety and stress, which can manifest as excessive sweating, wandering, continuously moving the legs while sitting, not stop quiet hands...
- Deficiency in communication, both verbal and non-verbal, due to anxiety, and may run out of words, or express disjointed and meaningless phrases.
- Thoughts invasive and overwhelming failure to others, with the conviction that you are judging; they invade even days and weeks before you have to attend a public event, such as a meeting or a business dinner.
- Feelings of shame, fear and insecurity at the prospect of being evaluated by others, being shy to others, causing them to blush when it is in the presence of others, and even to feel physical discomfort, such as stomach pain, if the situation continues.
- Consciousness of irrationality, by which the person gives what they think and feel is excessive and exaggerated and unrealistic, and yet is not able to avoid it.
- Tendency to avoid places or events where envisages that it will expose themselves socially, looking for excuses and even inventing them, to avoid having to deal with a situation which is convinced that it will be disastrous.
- Problems to maintain friendly relations, which can also affect intimate partner relationships, since in both cases is required some level of social activities, be it leisure, cultural, or otherwise, that the person who suffers from social phobia is not willing to accept.
Diagnosis of social phobiaIn order to establish the diagnosis of social phobia symptoms described in the previous section should have been for at least six months prior to the diagnosis. But, in addition, the specialist should distinguish it from other pathologies that may show similar symptoms, as it is the case of:
- The Simulator, whether consciously or pathological, whose case may occur in some of the symptoms of social phobia, but there is a secondary benefit sought by the individual, either to get something he wants, how to avoid something that does not want to. For example, a worker may be very comfortable in his position and to avoid being promoted and, with it, assume new responsibilities or change destination, can be socially incompetent. In these cases, there is no fear of irrational and advance a social situation, or high levels of anxiety in the presence of others.
- He suffers from paranoia, either because of disorders of personality, or suffer episodes with paranoia in which thinks and feels that others are their enemies and are there to do him harm. In this case, the contents of thoughts is different, and is not embarrassed to others, but be afraid of what others can do.
- High levels of stress that occur before an actual assessment or a relevant event; in such case it is natural to feel nervous, and even have communication difficulties, for example, when you must face before an audience, but in this case there is that anticipation of almost catastrophic thoughts about the shameful consequences of that Act.
- Other types of phobias, which may show similar symptoms, but whose object of the phobia is different; for example, a person may show very similar symptoms when you have to speak in public, but instead suffer social phobia suffers from agoraphobia, or fear of open spaces.
If you suspect that you suffer from social phobia, you can execute our test to clarify your doubts.
Treatment of social phobiaAlthough social phobia is a problem mainly psychological, sometimes it is necessary to use Pharmacology, such as anxiolytics and antidepressants, especially when the physical symptoms of anxiety are important, and the patient is sweating and hyperkinesia, as also an increase of speed of respiration and heart rate, which may lead to coronary problems, such as a heart attack, if people exposed to the social situation that both fears is not removed in time of it, something which already tends to make who suffer social phobia.
Therefore, the main therapeutic intervention is usually done from the field of psychotherapy and, in particular, using cognitive-behavioral techniques such as those listed below:
- Stress-management techniques, with which is trained to the person so that it is capable of detecting when it is beginning to get nervous or tense, to then apply relaxation techniques, whether through conscious breath control, or through mental visualization of Nice images. This training in the detection of the moment in which the stress levels soar is essential so that the patient can stop their advance and they fail to generate major problems.
- Thought control techniques; as in the previous case the first thing that is taught to the person is to be aware of when you start to produce these invasive thoughts, which will increase with the proximity of the feared event. Once detected the moment at which this takes place, are to be put in place techniques to stop it, as thinking about other topics, relativize the importance of the situation, or use keywords as a stop to stop it.
- Coping techniques, which consist of that person will have to go taking steps that lead you to confront feared situations, to see for itself that does not happen anything, and so break with these irrational beliefs. This is used the technique of successive approximations, in which the person slowly approaching to the feared situation, first with the presence of a person, then two, then three... and so on, having to be able to control your thoughts and feelings before advancing to the next step.
- Techniques of self-esteem, and strengths and weaknesses patient work that I learn to take advantage of what you have and develop what lacks, all reinforcing the confidence of the person itself, which will help you to cope with social situations better.
- Development of social skills techniques, which is teach the individual to be in society, knowing what to expect at every moment of an intimate relationship, a friendship, or fellow, in a way that know how to behave with role playexercises, which will help increase your confidence in itself and in their social skillsthus reducing their levels of anxiety and stress, and breaking with the thoughts of embarrassment preventing you to interact with others.
Tips for preventing social phobiaWhile social phobia may be clearly recognizable by the high levels of stress suffered by the affected Party, or because it avoids social gatherings and events repeatedly, sometimes is not itself which attends consultation, because it considers that it is a feature of his personality that cannot be changed. It is therefore that, sometimes, it is necessary that someone close to deal with have this person as companion, so go to consultation and specialist treated once checked the symptoms and established the diagnosis.
Although the origin of social phobia does not seem to be clear, it is important to provide positive experiences to children, and especially young people, since they are at a time of life in which the opinion of others is crucial for their personal image. Applaud their interventions, editing constructively, and encourage participation, may be key for the child or the young person accumulates positive experiences that go forming a good self-esteem, allowing a proper social development.
Relativize the failures, giving them the right value, does little to understand that it is not a personal failure, but the natural process to achieve some purpose or objectives. It is also necessary to relativize the hits to help the small to understand that he has to feel good about itself, regardless of the consequences of their effort or dedication, since this will help you to develop as a person, protecting their self-esteem.
If parents, teachers, or the couple or friends, see a person begins to make excuses to avoid social events, they should ask for the reasons of that reaction, and also when you are in society the person feels nervous, and even unwell physically, think that sufficient evidence there is to go to the specialist to confirm or rule out the diagnosis of social phobia.