Social Phobia and Related Disorders

We live in a highly connected world where people are always interacting with one another. They speak through phone, communicate on social media, go out to clubs and social gatherings, etc. These activities can cause strain to people with social anxiety or phobia. Social phobia is a common disorder which causes a considerable amount of stress. It can lead to anxiety or panic attracts and even causes people to shun all triggering activities completely.

What is Social phobia?

Social phobia is the fear of social interaction and communication with other people. Patients fear being tested and judged by people they meet, which can lead to anxiety or even panic attacks. It is the world’s third largest mental health problem, and many victims of it suffer silently.

People who suffer from social anxiety seem shy, quiet, introverted, aloof, or disinterested in others. Most individuals won’t attempt to draw patients out of their shell to engage them in conversations. People can develop a negative impression of patients with social anxiety, which only serves to compound the problem.

What are the signs of social anxiety?

  • Low self-esteem – Patients with low self-esteem are more likely to suffer from social anxiety because they already view themselves in a negative light. Symptoms of social anxiety might improve if the person develops self-confidence and a positive self-image.
  • Relationship problems – People with social anxiety find it difficult to connect with others. They hesitate to speak with potential romantic partners, don’t go out with friends often, and don’t communicate with family regularly. All of this can lead to relationship problems.
  • Lack of Assertiveness – Lack of self-esteem can lead to lack of assertiveness. Patients struggle to say no, place limits on social interaction or control their own social interaction. They follow peer pressure even if they’re not ready to deal with social situations, which can trigger anxiety attacks.
  • Inability to speak in front of an audience – Inability to communicate with people on a one-on-one basis, carries over to public speaking. Such events can act as a trigger to social anxiety sufferers, causing panic attacks, anxiety, and stress. All of this can impact the quality of their presentation.

Reliance on alcohol and drugs

People suffering from social anxiety can develop substance abuse problems. Alcohol and drugs can suppress their initial fear, allowing them to interact with others comfortably. This can be a slippery slope, leading patients to consume alcohol or drugs before/during every social event. Eventually, that can lead to drug dependency and alcoholism.

This coping mechanism can take an already serious mental health problem and make it worse. There are healthier and more effective ways to manage social anxiety without compromising both physical and mental well-being.

It’s easy to dismiss social anxiety and not seek treatment for it but that can have a big impact on the patient’s life. Toronto CBT is a good solution as it treats social anxiety without pharmacological assistance. A social anxiety-focused CBT program can help patients manage this disorder, becoming more comfortable with engaging in social situations.