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Understanding Social Phobia
By: Jacob Mabille

Do you feel terribly uncomfortable attending social functions? Does your throat feel as if it is closing if you have to speak in front of others? You may be one of the many people who suffer from social phobia.

Yes, that's right. You're not alone. There are plenty of others out there that suffer symptoms such as sweaty palms and racing heart when they enter a room full of people.

Those who suffer from social anxiety disorder can get extremely nervous just being around other people, even people they know, not just strangers. They feel uncomfortable in any type of social situation. Often they cannot be around more than a couple of people at a time without experiencing extreme anxiety. Many social phobics prefer being alone and tend to live secluded lives.

This disorder affects millions of people although the majority of those who suffer from the condition feel that they are alone in their discomfort. They feel as if they don't fit in anywhere. They may feel odd or different and somewhat out of sync with the rest of the world. Suffers of social anxiety disorder may be misdiagnosed with depression or post traumatic stress disorder although these conditions or combinations of them may accompany social anxiety disorder.

People who are afflicted with social phobia usually have a difficult time holding down jobs. They have difficulty interacting with others. They may be extremely sensitive and unable to accept criticism. Often they feel embarrassed and self-conscious. Such people may feel that others are constantly watching them.

Children and teenagers that tend to skip school or are unusually resistant in going to school should be evaluated for social anxiety disorder particularly if they exhibit other symptoms. Such people, adults and kids alike, usually have a hard time making friends. They are often shy as children, don't like being the center of attention, avoid contact with others and may be very insecure.

Social phobics tend to worry excessively and they may suffer from other conditions such as panic attacks or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Almost twice as many females suffer from social anxiety disorder as males. There is no definitive explanation for the higher percentage in females nor is there any exact cause for the condition itself. The disorder is thought to be caused by an imbalance in the brain involving the chemical serotonin.

Social anxiety disorder can be treated with medications such as Paxil, sertraline and others but cognitive-behavior therapy seems to be what many believe to be the best course of action for social phobia. Cognitive-behavior therapy, which gradually teaches techniques to conquer fears and build self-confidence, has seen some success in treating the disorder though it is not widely used in many areas yet.

But for those who experience these symptoms and believe themselves to be suffering from social anxiety disorder, don't despair. You are not alone and there is help. Consult your physician if you think this condition may apply to you or someone in your family. He or she can direct you to proper diagnosis and treatment of the condition. Don't continue to suffer but seek help instead.

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Jacob Mabille writes for Health Guides & Articles where you can find more health tips and related articles. (You may republish this article only if you retain resource box and active hyperlinks.)

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