Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia
People suffering from this type of phobia have persistent fear of “social performance” situations in which they feel they will be judged by others and embarrassment may occur. Individuals recognize this fear is excessive. However children may not recognize the fear as being unreasonable. Usually, individuals will stay away from social circumstances in order to avoid the discomfort they feel. People with social phobia experience symptoms of anxiety such as: palpitations, tremors, sweating, gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, muscle tension, blushing, and confusion. Eventually their normal routine and functioning is affected due to the distress they experience. Individuals with this disorder avoid people, they feel alone and may experience depression as well.
Treatment will include cognitive behavioral therapy along with opportunities to practice what is taught by doing social exposures either during sessions or during the week. You will learn to identify your negative thoughts or thinking errors, challenge them and replace them with alternative and realistic ones. Along with other cognitive interventions, you will learn how to implement relaxation training, imagery, and behavioral skills. Treatment is tailored to fit clients’ individual circumstances.
Individuals may experience excessive anxiety due to being exposed to a specific object or situation they fear. Because of their anxiety they begin to avoid those specific objects or situations. Usually the fear and anxiety increase causing them to go to extreme measures to avoid feeling that way.
If you suffer from a specific phobia, there is help and hopefully you’ve learned that avoidance has not solved the problem thus far. Treatment will include relaxation and mindfulness exercises, thought awareness and learning to process and restructure your thoughts. We’ll create a hierarchy of your specific phobia and take small steps to help your “anxious brain” get used to the fearful situation or object.