Social Phobia

Free «Social Phobia» Essay Sample

This is an anxiety that developing from fear of embarrassment or humiliation in social places, like in case of public speaking. It is diagnosed when people become extremely and excessively self-conscious in social situations. People with this condition develop an intense and persistent fear of being judged by others or by embarrassing themselves.  Many people may realize that they have the problem but are not able to overcome their fears (National Institute of Mental Health).

Symptoms of the disorder include blushing and difficulty in talking and sweating. The condition affects about 15 million adult Americans, with women being more likely to develop the condition than men. It begins in childhood or at early adolescence. The condition can be treated successfully with use of certain medications or psychotherapy.

Specific Phobias

A specific phobia is described as an intense, extreme, and apprehensive fear of specific conditions or things that have no apparent harm or cause no specific danger. Some of the common specific phobias include those centered on tunnels, heights, flying, driving, dogs or injuries resulting in blood losses. People with this kind of fear find it hard to face the feared object or condition as it causes severe anxiety (National Institute of Mental Health).

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This condition affects 19.2 million adult Americans, and it is twice as common for women than men. Appearing in childhood, specific phobias persist into adulthood, although research suggests that it may run along the lineage. Specific phobias are known to respond very well to targeted psychotherapy and affected people should avoid the situation that causes anxiety.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

GAD is characterized by a constant, apprehensive feeling that something bad is going to happen. People suffering from the exaggerated worry are overly concerned about their health, finances, work, or family problems. GAD is generally diagnosed when a person continues worrying about certain problems for more than 6 months and he or she seems not to get rid of their concerns despite realizing that they have a problem. Symptoms include failure to relax, concentrate, or insomnia. Physical symptoms include fatigue, muscle ache, trembling, headaches, sweating, hot flashes, and nausea. With mild conditions, these people can carry out their duties normally although they cannot avoid the state of fear. Evidence suggests that genes play an important role in GAD which affects both children and young adults. GAD rarely occurs alone but, normally, other anxieties accompany it. GAD is treated with medication or with cognitive-behavioral therapy (Brown et al.155-157).

Diagnosis of Anxiety Disorders

Diagnosis of ADs is done by physically examining the patient and assessing his/her personal history. During diagnostics, it is important that the doctor uncover any medical problems that may be masked under the anxiety attack. The patient will be required to describe if there is any occurrence of ADs in the family and if there is any other contributing factors to his/her condition, like a stressful event or recent life changes. Any condition like excessive drinking or substance abuse or change of moods should be brought up to the doctor. Diagnosing children is more difficult but doctors should look into the history of their family and closely examine each child in question (University of Maryland Medical Center). Health professionals can also use a handbook called Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) to make diagnoses (Cuncic)

Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are treated with specific type of psychotherapy, medication or both. The choice of treatment depends on the patient’s preference. People with anxiety disorders should seek medical intervention before the condition leads to severe consequences. 

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Although medicines do not cure ADs, they keep them under control while the patient receives psychotherapy. Medications are to be prescribed by physicians (usually psychiatrists) who can offer psychotherapy or assist psychologists and or social workers to provide psychotherapy. Proper use of medication cures many AD patients who can then lead normal lives once again.  

Some of the medicines administered include antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. Antidepressants are developed to treat depression and can be effective against ADs. These medicines can start to work immediately but they take about 4-6 weeks to take full effect. Some of the common antidepressants include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Tricyclics and Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Anti-Anxiety Drugs include the high-potency benzadiazephines that combat anxiety and are known to have few side effects. Anti-Anxiety Drugs are usually prescribed for short periods because people easily get used to them. Beta-blockers like propranolol are used to treat heart conditions as well as prevent symptoms that accompany ADs (

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Psychotherapy is the act of talking to a trained mental health professional, like a psychologist, social worker, or a psychiatrist, to discover the cause of and the treatment for the anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is especially useful to treating ADs. Usually it is done in a way that helps people alter their thinking, withdraw support from fears, or correctly react to certain situations. CBT can last up to 12 weeks or longer, especially for OCD, social phobia, and PTSD.


Although the cause of ADs is not exactly known, the condition is not due poor upbringing or a weakness. If diagnosed with the condition, patients are advised to seek medical care. The best treatment for many people is a combination of medication with CBT.  


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