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People with social phobia are often hypercritical of themselves

People with social phobia are often hypercritical of themselves
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According to Dr Matthews, social phobia sufferers can set unrealistically high expectations on their appearance, behaviour or performance, and become obsessed with minor details. “If they perceive anything as even slightly wrong, they may blow it out of proportion,” he says. “For example, if a person has a pimple or spills a small amount of coffee on himself, he may be overly conscious of his appearance, or if he trips on the carpet or drops his papers prior to a presentation, his anxiety may go sky high, thus impacting performance.”

Social phobia steals opportunity

Social phobia steals opportunity
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Dr Matthews says that fear of judgment or rejection interferes with meeting new friends or going on dates – and the fear can also cause them to drift apart from existing friends. “Individuals may even limit themselves in terms of school or career, opting for online college or commuting locally instead of going away to college or taking a lower-paying job or declining a promotion in order to avoid having to deal with people,” he says.

They may be subtle, but these hidden signs may indicate you have a mood disorder.

 

You can’t talk someone out of social anxiety

You can’t talk someone out of social anxiety
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If you’re not suffering from the phobia yourself, it can be difficult to understand what it’s like and why someone can’t seem to ‘shake it off’. But logic doesn’t play a role in this condition: “If someone has social phobia, their anxiety consists of physical symptoms, fears, negative thoughts and a constellation of things that can often require cognitive therapy and medication,” says Dr Sherman. “Although you would love to help, it’s unrealistic to think you can cheerlead or talk someone out of this and it puts undue pressure and unrealistic expectations on that person.”

Social anxiety usually comes with a lot of embarrassment and shame

Social anxiety usually comes with a lot of embarrassment and shame
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Those suffering from this disorder often feel they’re being judged harshly by others – and that can lead them to be difficult to deal with. Knowing the source of this behaviour, however, can help you help them alleviate the shame, notes Dr Jennings. “It has a cause, sometimes multiple causes, and more awareness of these causes can usher in needed compassion alongside increased trust in healing,” he says.

Many sufferers self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs

Many sufferers self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs
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There’s a reason alcohol goes by the name ‘liquid courage’. Alcohol and drugs lower people’s inhibitions, often reducing anxiety and making people less self-conscious. Relying on it as a means of opening up and relaxing in social situations can be dangerous, especially if you’re taking other medications for anxiety. “Anti-anxiety medications may also be used for the purpose of allowing people to relax in social situations, though regular use isn’t typically indicated, due to their often-addictive nature,” says Dr. Matthews. “It can also be very dangerous, even fatal, for individuals to mix alcohol with other substances, including anti-anxiety medications.”

Social phobia is treatable

Social phobia is treatable
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Fortunately, there is a lot people can do to help themselves manage symptoms of social anxiety. “There is a lot of support available these days in the form of self-help books, online communities and support, therapy and skills training, and medication,” says Dr Marni Amsellem,. “All have their benefits, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.” One of the more popular methods of treatment for social phobia is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which involves helping an individual understand the connection between their thoughts, feelings and behaviour while helping them to learn skills for altering their anxious thoughts, thus reducing anxious feelings and behaviour, explains Dr Matthews.

“Medication may also be prescribed by a physician to help a person to manage symptoms of social phobia, though a person must be careful to follow the physician’s orders, keeping in mind that these kinds of medications may be abused or a person could develop a dependency on them,” he adds. Medication, of course, can help to manage symptoms, but does not teach a person about their anxiety or how to cope with it the way CBT can.

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Source: RD.com 

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