Anxiety disorder characterized by the fear of communicating with people is called social phobia. A person suffering from such a disease fears to perform certain actions if they are accompanied by the attention of unauthorized persons, is afraid of the views of passers-by, and cannot do anything under supervision from the outside.
How Does the Disease Manifest?
Symptoms of social phobia are divided into 3 groups:
- fear of communicating with people; cognitive;
They experience real torment about how they are evaluated by others. Patients are too focused on how they look and what their observers think about their behavior. Such people put too much effort into making a good impression on everyone, but at the same time they are convinced that they will not be able to do this. So, if, when meeting a new person, the patient accidentally closes in a speech, then immediately after that he will begin to feel very anxious and think about how ridiculous this episode could seem to the interlocutor. People suffering from social phobia scroll through the head a possible development of events that cause them great anxiety, and analyze what could be done wrong. Obsessive thoughts do not come out of the head of the patient for several days or weeks after the situation that provoked stress. The idea of themselves and their abilities in such people is inadequate, they see themselves in the worst possible light. According to some reports, social phobes keep in mind a lot more negative events than ordinary people.
A strong reluctance to make a bad impression leads to the fact that the patient begins to be afraid of communicating with people and avoid any social interaction. A person refuses to go on a date, interview or party, fears communicate with strangers. Also, patients are afraid to look into the eyes of their interlocutor, or accidentally meet the gaze with a stranger. Such a state should not be confused with shyness, since social phobia leads to serious problems in the life of an individual. The physiological symptoms of the disease are:
- sweating (hyperhidrosis);
- shortness of breath;
- trembling limbs;
- heart rhythm disorder;
- redness of the skin.
In some individuals, gait disorder may be manifested – a constant concern about whether they walk “correctly”, especially when a group of unauthorized people are watching this action. These symptoms are easily noticed by others, which further increases the anxiety and fear of social phobia.
Causes of Fear
There are several reasons for the development of the disease.
- Fear of communicating with people in children. Genetic inheritance. Studies have shown that the possibility of a child developing social phobia increases by a factor of 2–3 if his relatives suffer from this disorder.
- Features of the nervous system. A temperament is found in 10-15% of people, characterized by a fear of the surrounding world and a strong concentration on themselves and their sensations.
- Negative experience of the past. Experienced negative experiences of communication (humiliation, psychological harassment, rejection by peers, physical or psychological violence) can contribute to the development of social phobia. If a child in the family has been subjected to excessive care or criticism from adults, he may also be afraid of communicating with strangers.
- Studies have shown that a child who is not popular with peers has a fairly high level of fear of being perceived negatively. As a rule, children with social phobia get more negative reactions from their peers, which can later lead to the avoidance of social interaction.
The most effective treatment for the disorder is cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy. In the course of working with a specialist, the patient gradually becomes accustomed to situations involving the implementation of certain actions and causing his fear. This method helps to restore the patient’s self-esteem, the formation of adequate self-esteem, the correct attitude to people’s reactions to their behavior. A new setting should be formed in a patient when evaluating events causing anxiety and eliminating physiological symptoms. In case of a categorical refusal of a social phobia from psychotherapy, the use of medications is possible, however, such treatment is more aimed at relieving the patient from the symptoms of the disease.
A person who does not suffer from social phobia, but notices some psychological or physiological symptoms of fear of communication with people, psychologists advise to communicate more, study to be a good listener, develop a sense of humor and try not to dwell on what the interlocutor thinks.