On Social Anxiety: Frequently Asked Questions

 

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It is not uncommon to feel apprehensive in some social circumstances. For instance, going on a romantic date or giving a big speech may result in feeling those butterflies in your stomach. However, when you suffer from social anxiety, which is also known as social phobia, daily interactions trigger considerable fear, humiliation, self-consciousness, and anxiety. You are scared of being criticized or condemned by other people.

In social anxiety, fear and worry result in evasion that can interfere with your life. Extreme stress can have a tremendous impact on your work, school, everyday routines, and other usual activities. Social anxiety is a longstanding mental health illness, but learning how to cope through medication and psychotherapy can definitely help you increase your confidence and improve your capacity to interact and engage in meaningful conversation with others.

 

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Learn more about social anxiety by reading some frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers below.

 

What triggers social anxiety?

Stressful life situations and traumatic experiences during childhood are major factors contributing to the emergence of social anxiety. Severe social anxiety disorder is seen in people who have gone through sexual, emotional, or physical abuse. You’re also more prone to have a social anxiety disorder if your parents or siblings have it. Additionally, kids who are being rejected, bullied, teased, or humiliated may be susceptible to developing a social anxiety disorder.

How do you know you have social anxiety?  

You will realize that you are socially anxious. If you are usually scared that people will notice that you look worried and tense. You don’t want to be in situations that would cause you to feel embarrassed and might blush, tremble, sweat, and talk with a shaky voice. You also tend to avoid talking to people for fear of embarrassing yourself. Finally, you don’t want to be in a situation where you are in the limelight or center of attention. 

What does social anxiety mean?  

Social anxiety disorder also referred to as social phobia, is a mental health illness characterized by an extreme, longstanding fear of being judged or noticed by other people. This fear tremendously impacts school, work, and other daily activities. 

How do I overcome social anxiety?

The primary step in overcoming social anxiety is first recognizing that you have one and then trying to understand what you have. Read and learn more about it so that you will be able to observe it in yourself while you are doing your daily activities. It is best to keep a journal to keep track of the symptoms. Practicing meditation and other relaxation strategies is also a great way to help overcome social anxiety. 

What is the best cure for social anxiety?

SSRIs or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors are the best groups of prescription medications for generalized social anxiety disorder, as proven by over 20 randomized controlled experiments that utilized SSRIs. 

Can you self diagnose social anxiety?  

There is a self-check instrument that can help you identify situations commonly seen in people with social anxiety, but this does not include all situations or all the potential reasons why someone might have it. Also, it does not provide an official diagnosis of social anxiety disorder. This implies that only a medical professional, such as a doctor or therapist, can diagnose social anxiety and consider other mental health illnesses associated with it. 

What happens if social anxiety is left untreated?

If social anxiety goes untreated, it could disrupt your relationships, work, school, and other aspects of your life. Social anxiety can develop from a fear of one social event to multiple events and even progress into a generalized fear of people. Severe untreated social anxiety disorder can result in depression, phobia, isolation, and other anxiety conditions. 

How do you talk to someone with social anxiety?

If you want to help someone diagnosed with social anxiety, you can start by sharing things about yourself. Your conversations are better when they are open-ended, and you try to avoid the more personal queries. Provide compliments from time to time, but don’t interrupt the person that you’re talking with. While you’re at it, be aware of your body language.

Can you beat anxiety without medication?

Anxiety is a monster, but it is possible to beat it without taking medications. Sometimes, surpassing the nervousness and the worry is merely a matter of changing your thoughts, behavior, and your lifestyle. You can begin with a medication-free technique, and then you can speak with a medical professional if you feel worse or your symptoms have improved. 

Does social anxiety go away with age?

For some individuals, their anxiety improves as they age. However, for most people, it does not disappear by itself without being treated. It is vital to seek help if you are experiencing symptoms. Some therapies could help deal with anxiety as well. 

What is a drug that calms you down?

Benzodiazepines are minor tranquilizers and considered hypnotics or sedatives that can help calm you down when you are anxious. They are among the most popular group of drugs in the globe. 

Who do you go to for social anxiety?

It might not be easy to initially get help for a disorder like social anxiety, often making you hesitant to talk with strangers. However, if you feel that you want to avoid physical or social contact and it’s slowly (or quickly) taking control of your life, you must consult with a mental health professional about it.

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Conclusion

The ADAA states that almost 40% of individuals with social anxiety do not consult a healthcare professional until they have experienced visible indications for at least ten years. On the other hand, those with social phobia are dependent on alcohol or drugs to deal with anxiety caused by social interactions. Left unmanaged, it can cause other devastating behaviors, including isolation, alcohol and drug abuse, or suicidal ideations.

The prognosis for social phobia is good with various treatments. Therapy, medications, and lifestyle modifications can help many people manage their anxiety and function normally – and happily – in social situations.

Indeed, you don’t have to be controlled by this mental health illness. While it may be weeks or even months, medications, psychotherapy, and other beneficial treatments can help you start to feel more confident and more at ease in social situations.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Phobia Therapy

Everyone has something they fear. However, these fears become serious when they start to take control over someone’s life. Phobias are powerful and irrational fears that can promote significant levels of anxiety.

However, a greater understanding of phobias and their treatments can help patients restore their quality of life. Phobias might be persistent, but people can take control of this condition through a comprehensive treatment plan.

The Impacts of Phobias

Several factors distinguish phobias from normal fears. First, they tend to fixate on a specific object, activity, or concept. People with phobias have clear and identifiable triggers for their anxiety. For example, some people have arachnophobia, defined as an excessive fear of spiders.

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Phobias also tend to cause intense and disproportionate anxiety. The intense emotions that patients experience may not match with the threat imposed by the object of fear. People with phobias may experience persistent and overwhelming anxiety that triggers physical symptoms, such as palpitations, dizziness, and sweating.

Phobias tend to cause behavioral changes. People actively avoid encountering the object of the phobia, even if the item is harmless. They might also take unreasonable countermeasures to protect themselves from the perceived threat.

The person might have a phobia triggered by a wide variety of situations, such as acrophobia or the fear of heights. In these cases, phobias can cause significant changes in daily routine. These phobias can cause difficulties in having a career, enjoying social activities, or even relaxing at home.

Fortunately, phobia therapy can help patients rationalize their fears and manage their emotions. Working with a therapist can resolve most phobia cases and enable people to live normal lives. Learn more about phobias and their associated therapies in the FAQs below.

Can phobias be cured?

It is possible to heal and cure most phobias entirely successfully.

  • For common phobias, there is a therapy called desensitization or self-exposure therapy. In this therapy, people with a phobia are exposed little by little to the things that trigger their anxiety and fear. 
  • For complicated phobias, it requires more time and attention. It might need verbal therapies such as counseling, psychotherapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

What are the 5 categories of phobias?

Animal Type

It is a phobia towards animals, such as Arachnophobia (spider), Cynophobia (dogs), Ophidiophobia (snake).

Natural Environment Type

These phobias involve the natural environment, such as Acrophobia (height), Astraphobia (thunder and lightning), Aquaphobia (water), Nyctophobia (dark).

Blood-Injection-Injury Type 

It is a type of phobia which occurs when exposed to blood, injection, or injury, such as Hemophobia (blood), Traumatophobia (injury), Trypanophobia (needles).

Situational Type

It is a type of phobia that involves fear of specific situations, such as Aviophobia or Aerophobia (flying), Amaxophobia (driving), Claustrophobia (confined spaces).

Other Types: Emetophobia (choking phobia, vomiting), Nosophobia (contracting an illness), Phonophobia (loud sounds).

What is phobia counseling?

Counseling therapy regarding phobias is a progressive and regulated process of managing fear and anxiety. It helps individuals establish positive thoughts and behavior habits that foster well-being and the fulfillment of living. 

What is the weirdest phobia?

Ablutophobia falls under the situational-specific type of phobia, which means it can hinder your daily life. It is the excessive anxiety towards taking a bath, washing, or cleaning. Most commonly, this phobia arises in kids and improves over time, but it may still occur in adulthood.

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What is the #1 phobia?

Arachnophobia is one of the most widespread types of specific phobia. It impacts about 3.5% to 6.1% of the world’s population. Those with arachnophobia are likely to go out of their way to guarantee that they don’t come close to a spider.

To keep themselves away from spiders, they end up limiting their hobbies and activities where spider encounters are possible.

Is Trypophobia real?

Trypophobia is not officially acknowledged by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) of the American Psychiatric Association.

As stated by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), real phobias are those that can trigger excessive anxiety and fear of disrupting your daily life. Trypophobia does not comply with that standard.

What causes Trypophobia?

A 2013 study examined how individuals with Trypophobia react to specific stimuli (Honeycomb) in contrast to an individual without the condition. The researchers theorized that individuals with Trypophobia acquire symptoms because they subliminally connect the honeycomb with a terrifying animal, such as a rattlesnake, where its pattern is comparable.

The condition is assumed to be activated when an individual sees a pattern of tiny bunched holes that bring out symptoms, such as fear, anxiety, and disgust.

What is Novinophobia?

Novinophobia is a phobia where there is a fear of wine running out. It is a phobia that worries about the lack of wine for consumption.

For people with Novinophobia, they need to have accessible wine for drinking all the time. Suppose their wine glasses or bottles become empty or nearly empty; people with this condition panic or become anxious. Given that there is no wine available to drink, they live in a continuous feeling of fear.

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What is the Trypanophobia?

Trypanophobia is characterized as an intense fear of injections or needles concerning medical operations. While several phobias were pointed and sharp objects are involved, Trypanophobia includes the fear’s medical side. It is also sometimes referred to as:  

  • Aichmophobia: Fear of sharp and pointed objects
  • Belonephobia: fear of needles and pins
  • Enetophobia: fear of pins

What is the meaning of Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia?

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia ironically is the fear of long words. When presented with long words, individuals dealing with such disorders appear to feel a high anxiety level. 

What is Megalophobia?

Megalophobia is also called the fear of large objects. The perception or interaction with a building, car, or any large object triggers extreme fear and anxiety.

This disorder is characterized by extreme anxiousness, which is so severe that it requires tremendous precautions to avoid the stimuli. It might also be extreme enough to disrupt the everyday routine.

How do you get Trypanophobia?

Some of the variables leading to this phobia progression include:

  • Traumatic events in life or past injuries induced by a particular object or incident.
  • Family members who have a similar phobia (which could reflect hereditary or acquired behavior)
  • Passing out or extreme dizziness as an outcome of having a vasovagal reflexive response once pierced with a needle.
  • Traumatic experiences and anxiousness because of painful injection that the presence of a needle can induce.
  • During medical procedures involving a needle, it induces extreme anxiety, high blood pressure, or a fast heart rate.

Can needle phobia be cured?

To cure the phobia of needles, here are a few valuable tips:

  • Reformulate your reasoning. Know that any discomfort correlated with injection shots or drawing blood is almost instant.
  • Confront the fear. Often, just seeing images of needles or holding a needle will aid you in overcoming your anxiety. Once the needle becomes more familiar, it may help you lessen the feeling of fearfulness.
  • Seek counseling. Individuals experiencing severe cases of needle phobia may need the assistance of a psychotherapist or a licensed mental health counselor.

How do I know if I have Trypanophobia?

You will know that you have Trypanophobia if you feel symptoms whenever you see a needle or when you thought of undergoing a procedure involving a needle. The symptoms include:

  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Racing heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Avoidance of medical care

How common is Trypanophobia?

Research shows that a notable 20% of the populace has a certain level of fear of injections and needles, and within that figure, 10% struggle from Trypanophobia.

Treatments for Phobia

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As shown in the FAQs above, phobias come in many forms. Despite the fears being irrational and excessive, they have real adverse impacts on the people who have phobias.

As such, patients deserve to be treated seriously instead of being ridiculed. Validating their struggles and prompting them to seek mental healthcare are the first steps towards recovery.

Your doctor will conduct an interview and review your medical history during the diagnostic phase. These procedures will help rule out other conditions that might be giving you anxiety.

They will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, to determine criteria for diagnosing you with a specific phobia.

For most phobias, you will receive exposure therapy, which modifies how you respond to the object of your phobia. Under controlled settings, you will be exposed gradually and repeated to your trigger points.

Like with other mental health conditions, you will also undergo cognitive behavioral therapy. You will work with a therapist to learn about coping methods for dealing with fear. The goal of this therapy is for you to develop mastery over your emotions, giving you power over them.

Your doctor will advise you to practice mindfulness and relaxation strategies at home and exercise regularly. Additionally, you may receive short-term medication to quell symptoms.

Phobia therapy is beneficial for everyone. Many people will ultimately get over their phobias, while around half would only experience mild and unobtrusive fears. Instead of hiding your fears, make sure to approach your doctor so that you can confront your phobias together.