Social phobia arises due to the fear of being among a multitude of people. The low level of interaction is escalated by the fear of being judged or rejected in a social situation. The worry of appearing anxious which is exhibited by blushing or even stumbling over words may make life harder for people with social phobia. Unlike people who enjoy being present in multitudes, persons who have social phobia see it a disruption to their lives. The national institute of mental health (Nimh) classifies social anxiety as a mental health condition that can have serious social effects on the person affected. Due to lack of mass awareness on the defining features of social phobia, the condition worsens and makes life harder for those who suffer from it, mass awareness on the condition and having corrective facilities for those suffering may help alleviate the impact of the issue on the affected (Nimh).
Defining Features of Social Phobia
A significant percentage of the population has come across people suffering from social phobia. However, the majority fails to understand the condition, and it may pass off as normal (Heidemarie et al.). Certain situations such as meeting a new person, job interview or even dating puts some people off. As per Koban and Leonie (4), things seen as normal by others like eating or talking to a cashier becomes hard for them, the fear of rejection and humiliations tends to trigger the fear. In a nutshell, the fear that these people have in social situations super cedes their ability to control it (Heidemarie et al.). In the end, the fear gets in their way of work, school or other daily chores. People with the fear tend to worry about the daily events for days or weeks. In the end, they may shun away from events that they think may embarrass them (Koban and Leonie 5)
Social phobia may fail to exhibit as anxiety in social situations; rather, the person may have a hard time performing and therefore have performance anxiety (Erik et al. 1). A good dancer, actor or sports person may fail to portray their best due to anxiety. The issue starts at a young age; therefore, many people may have suffered from the condition. It is shown that about 7% of Americans are affected by the condition (Johanna et al.,.161). Lack of proper treatment may make a person fail to achieve their full potential.
In extreme conditions, the condition may exhibit through things like increased heat beat, blushing, sweating and the mind going blank (Alexandra ., et al. 2). The feeling of nausea and sickness in the stomach is quite common; this is triggered by being in the presence of people (Erik et al. 1). For some, they maintain a rigid body posture while keeping little eye contact when in public, in most situations; they speak in a low voice. People who are new to them may look scary, and it may be difficult being with them, conversations are often not attained even if they wish for it. Self-consciousness is common which is triggered by the fear of embarrassment, social anxiety makes people fear judgment and therefore tend to be alone most of the times (Koban and Leonie 6)
The condition is quite common. Therefore, members of the public have come across it; however, they lack a proper understanding of its defining characters. This means that anyone who suffers from the condition is seen as normal. The question of whether public ignorance plays a role in the continuation of the condition is raised (Johanna et al.,166).
Causes of Social Phobia
Public ignorance has made the issue to escalate, from research, it is evident that the social phobia can be treated (Koban and Leonie 5); however, how many people get the medical attention they deserve? For those who are aware of the condition, how many facilities are open for treatment? The causes and enhancers of social phobia may be beyond the traditional known causes. For instance, inherent factors are some of the main causes. Are people aware that there is a possibility of having children with social phobia if the parents suffered from the same? Even though the condition may be linked to genetics, the number of people with the ability to recognize the issue from a young age is few (Koban and Leonie 4)
Besides the inherent characters, the brain structure may also cause the condition. The part of the brain that deals with response may be a little more sensitive meaning that the condition may exhibit itself more in others while it remains low in other members of the public. Members of the public may assume that it is normal for some people to have extreme cases of anxiety while others exhibit it in minimally. However, what lacks is the awareness that they can have the condition medically checked to help alleviate the issue, especially when it is more about brain structure (Juergen et al., 37)
The environment that one is in may cause and accelerate the impact of; it may also be learned as a behavior. People may have the condition develop as a result of being exposed to unpleasing conditions or even socially embarrassing situations (Koban and Leonie 4). The growing up environment, depending on people present may determine whether the condition will develop. An ideal example is when a child is unable to perform a task; the parent may rebuke or compliment the child; this means that the treatment given has an impact on the person. When guardians are aware of the impact of poor upbringing, they will develop strategies to handle awkward situations. Assume that a class teacher rebukes students who are not able to answer a question, rebuke creates a socially awkward situation, and the environment may make it harder to learn. What effect would praising the student instead of demeaning them have on their self-confidence? Are there strategies that can be adopted for the mass environment to help remedy the situation.
Moreover, what does the environment have to offer to young ones, does the environment create negative experiences that have an impact on children? There are people in every place if a person has had a negative experience in a public place, how did the public react? Were they helped, did people laugh at them or did people just watch? Depending on the outcome of the embarrassing situation, the condition may have started at that point. Stein and Dan (15) state that people in developed countries are likely to suffer more from the condition due to public embarrassment. The question on how people react to awkward situations and the relation to social anxiety plays a big role in helping understand the condition.
Negative Implications of Social Phobia
Mass awareness of the condition can directly be used as a solution, due to the majority of the people failing to give it the attention deserved, serious implications arise. The most common include isolation and having a hard time making friends (Erik et al. 2). Assume in a class environment where one is rebuked for poor performance; this means that they may have a hard time approaching other students due to fear of ridicule. Isolation may bring about damaged self-esteem, embarrassing situations play a role in reinforcing once self-doubts and they end up being convinced that they are flawed humans (Alexandra ., et al. 5).
In the long run, the people with the condition may tend to feel themselves as underachievers. Assume a situation where a person has an idea but is not able to approach others for assistance in implementing it. They may be seen as underachievers in the long run since no tangible progress will be made by them. Harsh inner dialogues exist within them as they wonder whether they are lesser humans (Erik et al. 2). At such a stage, it is essential that someone intervenes and helps settle the dialogue; otherwise, it may escalate to depression. Since the anxiety exists in public places, there is a possibility of people affected having skewed perceptions to life. What others perceive as normal tends to be different to them. In the long run, it may be hard having a personal stand and making personal decisions; there will always be a need to consult (Erik et al. 2).
Prevention and Treatment of Social Phobia
Living in a society, the best thing that can happen is to get help early; however, the help that one gets depends on the society that they live in. A person living with elites may easily get help as they understand the condition; they have access to specialized care and even the financial capability to offer the desired help to the victim (Johanna et al., 161) On the other hand, a person who does not have access to help early enough may find that the condition escalates to adulthood.
Having a journal that records all the happenings in your life is also an essential way to prevent the issue. Majority of the people keep no journals; this means that they lose track of everyday happenings. Crucial happenings in life such as falling in public, answering a question wrongly and getting embarrassed may help one to track the issues that led to development of social anxiety (Stein and Dan, 16) However, many people fail to track crucial life happenings and therefore, they are not able to detect when an issue started. Moreover, a journal helps one to prioritize issues, unlike in the past where people created journals, people have no record of their activities meaning that tracking past happenings to detect pattern becomes hard. Well, prioritized issues such as being relaxed and taking a deep breath before going in public can be detected through a journal as essential steps that help prevent social anxiety.
With a track of daily habits, one can tell the activities that trigger social anxiety, for instance, unhealthy food and substances such as alcohol may be a trigger to social anxiety (Erik et al. 7). If someone discovers that the substances have a negative effect on them, they may opt to avoid them or abandon them altogether. Records of daily happening that many people fail to keep can help decide when to seek specialized care (Johanna, et al., 164)
Social anxiety may seem like a normal condition; however, only people who suffer from it can understand the implications that it has on them. Fitting in the society becomes hard, and they always have to find an alternative way to get things done. Since the condition is only rife I public, having a mass awareness on the issue can be essential in bringing down the possible implications of the condition.
Blumenthal, Heidemarie, et al. "Elevated social anxiety among early maturing girls." Developmental Psychology 47.4 (2011): 1133.
Hedman, Erik, et al. "Shame and guilt in social anxiety disorder: effects of cognitive behavior therapy and association with social anxiety and depressive symptoms." PloS One 8.4 (2013): e61713.
Koban, Leonie, et al. "Social anxiety is characterized by biased learning about performance and the self." (2017).
Boettcher, Johanna, et al. "Internet-based interventions for social anxiety disorder-an overview." Verhaltenstherapie 23.3 (2013): 160-168.
Nimh. "NIMH >> Anxiety Disorders." Nimh.nih.gov. N.p., 2018. Web. 24 Nov. 2018.
Stein, Dan J., et al. "The cross-national epidemiology of social anxiety disorder: Data from the World Mental Health Survey Initiative." BMC medicine 15.1 (2017): 143.
Hoyer, Juergen, et al. "Baseline patient characteristics predicting outcome and attrition in cognitive therapy for social phobia: Results from a large multicentre trial." Clinical psychology & psychotherapy 23.1 (2016): 35-46.
Hoff, Alexandra L., et al. "Developmental differences in functioning in youth with social phobia." Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 46.5 (2017): 686-694.
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