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Wikipedia has more on Sociophobia
Sociophobia, also called "social phobia" or "social anxiety disorder" (SAD or SAnD) is an intense, excessive, and irrational fear in social situations. People with sociophobia get very nervous in the middle of crowd and afraid to interact with other people especially stranger.
This kind of phobia is triggered by someone’s worry of other people’s judgement. Sociophobic people afraid that their act and talk would embarrass themselves and make other people look down on them. Without any effort to overcome the problem, sociophobia may ruin someone’s life. It will prevent someone from using public facilities, making friends, getting job, building relationship and having family.
Causes of Sociophobia
The causes of sociophobia may vary, but the most common cause is a certain traumatic event in the past. Someone who has experienced violence in the past has a bigger chance to suffer sociophobia than the one who hasn’t.
As an illustration, when people were bullied at school or abused at home, their subconscious mind may remember the event. Then, the subconscious mind will maintain the thought of being insecure whenever they interact with other people or stand in the center of some crowds.
People with sociophobia tend to be introverted. They also isolate themselves from society to avoid facing the situations they fear the most. Sociophobia will be a hindrance to someone’s life, since humans are social creatures who need each other to make a living.
Symptoms of Sociophobia
Normally, sociophobic people feel very nervous when they have to introduce themselves in front of a lot of people, meet strangers, give speech in front of public, even when gather with family. They also have problem to do normal activities such as eating or talking in front of public.
In more extreme cases, sociophobic people also shiver, have a shortness of breath, feel numb, get queasy, or feel like fainted when they are facing one of the situations above. Without any further actions to overcome sociophobia, it will disrupt someone’s life because it creates stress and reduce someone’s productivity.
Treatment for Sociophobia
People with sociophobia may overcome their problem by seeing professional help. The most common and popular therapy for curing sociophobia as well as many other phobias is called cognitive-behavioral therapy. Taking this therapy, people will be introduced to their fear gradually in the hope that they are able to handle their fear step by step.
Talk therapy, support groups, and relaxation therapy can also be taken to heal sociophobia. The purpose of those methods are the same i.e. to bring sociophobic people back to their sense. When people’s rational thought is able to conquer their irrational fear, they will be able to get rid of their phobia.
Aside from those methods, sociophobic people can also take medication to overcome sociophobia. Although, medication seems efficacious, it is not truly heal the phobia. Instead, medication help the patients conceals the phobia by reducing the symptoms for a short time.