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15M With Social Phobia

By on September 20, 2014

A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. It is a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no real danger.

There are many specific phobias. Acrophobia is a fear of heights. Agoraphobia is a fear of public places, and claustrophobia is a fear of closed-in places. If you become anxious and extremely self-conscious in everyday social situations, you could have a social phobia. Other common phobias involve tunnels, highway driving, water, flying, animals and blood.

People with phobias often avoid the object of their fear, otherwise they risk:

  • Panic and fear
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trembling
  • A strong desire to get away

Phobias usually start in children or teens, and continue into adulthood. The causes of specific phobias are known, but they sometimes run in families.

Treatment helps most people with phobias. Options include medicines, therapy or both.

What is Social Phobia?

Social phobia is a strong fear of being judged by others and of being embarrassed. This fear can be so strong that it gets in the way of going to work or school or doing other everyday things.

Social phobia affects about 15 million American adults. Women and men are equally likely to develop the disorder, which usually begins in childhood or early adolescence.

Social phobia is generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both.

Psychotherapy. A type of psychotherapy called Cognitive behavior therapy (cbt) is especially useful for treating social phobia. It teaches a person different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations that help him or her feel less anxious and fearful. It can also help people learn and practice social skills.

Medication. Doctors also may prescribe medication to help treat social phobia. The most commonly prescribed medications for social phobia are anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants.

If you or someone you love is dealing with signs of anxiety or a specific phobia, contact a local professional for support. By calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

This article is courtesy of the National Institute of Mental Health.