Social phobia - it is an irrational fear, uncontrollable fear of any public actions (for example, performance before the public) or fear of actions that are accompanied by increased attention from unfamiliar (outsiders) people (for example, the inability to do anything with someone's observation from the outside).

Social phobia is also called social anxiety disorder. It is expressed in uncontrollable fear, which completely paralyzes the will of the individual and complicates his social interaction. Social phobia is always characterized by the presence of a situational cause, which triggers a whole complex of manifestations, which can sometimes be indistinguishable from panic attacks.

Cause social phobia

Psychologists believe that the causes of social phobia are inextricably linked with self-doubt and hidden deep in the subconscious of man. A person exposed to this phobia is quite dependent on the assessment of his society, on the opinion of him and his actions by others. It is believed that the real causes of this phobia originate from childhood. Parents, other significant adults, educators, and teachers, quite often, in their practice, use a comparative assessment of individual behavior in a negative manner. Any disliked actions are accompanied by phrases: do not cry out like a girl, tell me when they ask, and before that, keep quiet etc. Subsequently, the subconscious of children reinforces this behavior, which leads to manifestations of low self-esteem in adulthood. A low self-esteem may further lead to social phobia.

Another reason can be considered a long stay of a person in a stressful state or prolonged emotional stress associated, for example, with work.

Social phobia can also develop under the influence of a single stressful situation, for example, a natural cataclysm, car accident, catastrophe, a terrorist act, etc.

Quite often, social phobia can be the primary pathology in subjects who are prone to depressive states, in drug addicts or alcohol addicts.

People suffering from social phobia just want to make a good pleasant impression on others. However, these people are very worried, experiencing and doubting themselves and their abilities. In an effort to do everything perfectly, they expect praise, but at the same time, they are very afraid of the consequences that will entail the evaluation of their actions.

Sufferers of social phobia avoid situations in which they can be rejected. They become a kind of hostage to their own image. Sotsiofoby trying to please everyone around just to earn their approval, attention, location and interest. They just want to feel better and needed.

There is another kind of social phobia that behaves fairly relaxed in the team, trying to draw attention to itself through various methods. They do this in order to create a positive image for themselves. Surrounding people treat them favorably until they begin to understand that a great amount of fears and complexes are hidden behind ostentatious fun. For the person suffering from social phobia, such behavior is a kind of attempt to hide his anxiety.

The main reason for the nervousness and anxiety of social phobes is their belief that others think negatively about them. Social phobia carefully plans all its public actions, so as not to be misled, not seem silly, ugly, weak. Although in reality there is absolutely no reason for this. It is impossible to convince a person suffering from social phobia that his natural behavior does not cause any negative impression.

In general, people speak about such a person better and softer than he thinks about himself. However, any individual perceives the surrounding reality through the prism of himself and his own ideas, thoughts. There is no point in convincing him of the opposite. Therefore, it is very difficult for social phobia to give compliments, and to accept them.

Many social phobias do not even suspect the presence of such a phobia in themselves, since they are confident that they are psychologically healthy.

As a rule, problems such as the fear of communicating with others occur during adolescence. This is due to the fact that the pubertal period in the life of a teenager is rather difficult and important for him. Indeed, in this period there is a transition from the child state to the adult. This period is characterized by exacerbation of feelings. Therefore, if there is even the slightest uncertainty or shyness, transitional age can strengthen them or transform them into social phobia. The more negative emotions in the puberty period, the greater the risk for the emergence of social phobia.

Social phobia symptoms

The diagnosis of the presence of social phobia can only be a doctor. However, there are a number of common symptoms. Unconscious fear that occurs in a public place when meeting people. In this case, the face becomes red, there is a rapid heartbeat, trembling in the limbs, excessive sweating. Manifestations of this phobia are very similar to panic attacks. However, social attacks are not characterized by paroxysmal, but prolonged and unreasonable states of anxiety, nervousness, irritability.

Often socialophobia itself is perceived by patients as fear. It expresses the refusal to solve problems related to society and communication. For example, refusal of medical assistance, fear of going to restaurants or shops, social phobia in a child is expressed in fear of speaking in the classroom, reading aloud, etc.

Suffering from social phobia, subject to groundless fear of being negatively evaluated by others about the forced interaction with them. Anxiety, embarrassment, fear, shyness - these are the main conditions that accompany social phobia.

Situations that provoke fear can be: dating, talking on the phone, interacting with the manager, receiving visitors, any actions performed in the presence of others, public speaking.

Social phobia in a child may manifest itself in refusal to attend school. So, all the symptoms can be divided into three groups: cognitive, behavioral and physiological.

The first group includes the horror that people experience from evaluating others. Therefore, social phobes are almost always focused on themselves, on how they look from the outside and how they behave. They usually impose excessive demands on themselves.

People prone to social phobia are trying their best to make a good impression of themselves on others, but at the same time, they are in the depths of consciousness that they can not do it. People suffering from such a phobia can scroll through all possible scenarios of further development of the situation that provoke anxiety, while analyzing what and where they could have done wrong. Such thoughts can be obsessive and harass an individual for several weeks after a stressful situation arises.

Sociophobes are characterized by inadequate opinions about themselves, about their potential. They are more likely to see themselves from the negative side. There is also information that the memory of social phobes stores more negative memories, while healthy people tend to forget all that is bad.

The second group includes the avoidance of any contact with other people, parties and dates. They are afraid to talk to strangers, to visit bars, cafes, canteens, etc. Social societies are wary of looking into the interlocutor's eyes, i.e. social phobia is characterized by avoiding behavior.

On the physiological side, there is increased sweating, facial flushing, changes in heart rhythm, tears, difficulty breathing, nausea, and tremor of the extremities. Gait disturbances are also possible, especially in cases where a person passes by a group of people. The result of such manifestations in social phobia will be even greater anxiety.

Also distinguish certain signs of social phobia. Avoiding behavior, taking psychotropic or alcoholic drugs are the main signs of social phobia. Signs of social phobia conditionally divided into mental and vegetative. Mental attitudes include avoidance, fear, shyness, low self-esteem, etc. The physiological symptoms are attributed to the vegetative characteristics.

Social phobia treatment

Conventionally, the methods of treatment of this phobia can be divided into 4 groups: individual psychotherapy, drug therapy, group therapy, self-help or treatment from books, online counseling, etc.

However, the main method of treatment, giving the highest percentage of positive results, is considered behavioral therapy. The essence of behavioral therapy is the formation of new mental attitudes in social phobes during the assessment of situations that cause anxiety and release from physical symptoms. After cognitive therapy, the main acquisitions can be considered behavioral skills in various social situations, anxiety can pass on its own, a person behaves more calmly in social situations, and self-study skills.

Drug treatment is used in cases of refusal of patients from psychotherapeutic treatment. However, the efficacy of drugs is rather limited and is mainly aimed at eliminating symptoms such as stress and anxiety.

Drug therapy involves the use of drugs such groups as antidepressants, beta-blockers and benzodiazepines.

There are other methods, training and ways to get rid of this phobia. For example, the method of positive visualization, which is to present a situation that provokes anxiety and nervousness, anxiety, feelings of fear and living this situation with a positive attitude.

J. Biick also developed a training for overcoming social phobia, consisting in the ability to more impartially examine situations of interaction with society, track their irrational judgments and ideas, develop more effective ways of interacting with the environment. Training to overcome social phobia is based on a variety of exercises that simulate various situations of everyday life. A lot of people using training techniques have managed to significantly improve their condition.

Social phobia test

Today, quite a few methods have been developed that determine the presence of social phobia. For example, a test for social phobia. Its main goal lies in assessing the level of anxiety, which occurs under the influence of various social situations. This test is contained in the description of the 24 situations. For each of the situations you need to determine the level of anxiety. All answers are given for a period that is equal to the past week. Those. If a person has experienced the situation described last week, then he gives an answer about the experienced anxiety. If this situation did not happen to him last week, then he gives an answer about his intended behavior, whether he will feel anxious in this situation or not, if so, how strong, etc.

The level of anxiety is determined with the help of a four-point system, where zero is equal to the absence of anxiety, one is mild anxiety, two is moderate, and three is intense. Then, the level of avoidance of such situations is assessed using a scale where zero is never, 1 is sometimes, 2 is often and 3 is constant. After passing the test, the total result is calculated for all 24 situations. There should be two positions, one is the degree of avoidance, and the second degree of anxiety. Then the two indicators are added. Based on the result, it is possible to judge the presence and severity of social phobia.

This testing was developed by a famous researcher and psychologist M. Leibovich. This test is considered fairly objective and with high accuracy determines the presence of this phobia.