I'm not sure if that last part is a quote or not.Everyone is afraid of something and experiences nervousness and anxiety at times. Some people possess these feelings so deeply that their fear is considered irrational. Even they realize that it is irrational, and that they have a phobia. Millions of people suffer from phobias every day. The third largest psychological disorder in the United States is what psychologists call a social phobia.
A social phobia is the fear of social situations and interactions with other people that can automatically bring on feelings of self-consciousness, judgment, evaluation, and scrutiny. The patient cannot overcome a social phobia without first understanding exactly what triggers their fears, and then learning how to receive proper help. A social anxiety disorder or social phobia is the constant fear of being criticized or evaluated by other people.
People with a social phobia feel nervous, anxious, and afraid over many social situations. Simply attending a business meeting or going to a company party can be highly nerve wracking and intimidating. Although people with social anxiety want very much to be social with everyone else, their anxiety about not doing well in public is strong and obstructs their best efforts. They freeze up when they meet new people, especially authority figures. They are particularly afraid that other people will notice that they are anxious, enabling the anxiety to grow and turn into a vicious cycle. For example, a woman hates to go to the grocery store because she is afraid that everyone is watching her. She knows that it is not really true, but she cannot shake the feeling. While she is shopping, she is conscious of the fact that people might be staring at her from the big security mirrors on the ceiling. When she has to talk to the cashier, she tries to smile, but her voice comes out weakly. She is sure she is making a fool of herself, her self-consciousness and anxiety rise to extremes. Many symptoms go hand in hand with this terrible phobia.
The feelings that accompany a social phobia include anxiety, intense fear, negative thinking cycles, racing heart, blushing and trembling. In public places, such as work, meetings, or shopping, people with a social phobia feel that everyone is staring at them (even though, rationally, they know this is not true.) The socially anxious person can never relax when other people are around. It always seems as others are evaluating them, judging them, or being critical of them, so in turn, avoiding social situations is much easier for the sufferer. Some people, for example, cannot write in public because they fear people are watching and their hand will shake. Others are so introverted, they find it also difficult to hold down a job. Some cannot eat in public or freeze when they step into a public situation. The sufferer tries to avoid being introduced to new people, being the focal point, or being observed while doing something, because it triggers their anxiety.
Once the patient understands the sickness, they can take measures to help address their feelings and overcome the sickness. When the phobias interfere with a person's life, treatment can help. Because few socially-anxious people have heard of their own problem, and have never seen it discussed on any talk shows, they think they are the only ones who have these terrible symptoms. Therefore, they keep quiet about them. It would be too horrific if everyone realized how much anxiety they experienced in daily life. Unfortunately, without some kind of education and treatment, social anxiety continues to wreak havoc throughout their lives. Adding to the dilemma, when a person with a social phobia gets up the nerve to seek help, the chances that they can find it are very slim. In fact, Psychiatrists have misdiagnosed people with a social phobia almost 98% of the time.
Successful treatment usually involves a cognitive-behavioral therapy called desensitization or exposure therapy, where psychologists gradually expose patients to what frightens them until the fear begins to fade. This treatment provides methods, techniques, and strategies that all help to lessen anxiety and make the world a much more enjoyable place. Therapy may involve learning to view social events differently, and exercises on relaxation and breathing also to help reduce anxiety symptoms. Three-fourths of the patients benefit significantly from this type of treatment. A social phobia responds to a relatively short-term therapy, about twelve to twenty meetings, depending on the severity of the condition. Socially-anxious people do not need years and years of therapy. Consequently, psychiatrists who teach people to analyze and meditate over their problems usually make their social anxieties worse.
Currently, no proven drug treatment for specific phobias has yet been found, but sometimes psychiatrists may prescribe certain medications to help reduce anxiety symptoms before someone faces a phobic situation.
Without treatment, a social phobia is a torturous emotional problem; with treatment, its bark is worse than its bite. Once the patient realizes that they have a phobia, treatment can substantially reduce their problems. Treatment may be found from any specialist who understands this problem and knows how to treat it. Getting over social anxiety is not an easy task, yet thousands have already done it. "Life is just one gut-wrenching anxiety problem after another", says Dr. Thomas Richards, Ph.D. "However, the patient can reduce this in a short period of time--by a cognitive-behavioral therapist who understands and specializes in the treatment of social anxiety."