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Understanding Shyness Social Phobia Better

Aug 18, 2007
Social phobia is a severe form of shyness, a disorder also known as social anxiety. People with social phobia are often reluctant to admit that they have the symptoms because they fear being ridiculed about their psychological condition.

Making a patient feel more at ease:

If the caregivers of a patient want their loved one to be more comfortable admitting to having social phobia, they may try expressing sympathy about the patient and his condition. For example, a patient who dreads attending parties may feel better if he is told by his sister: I feel uncomfortable at parties sometimes too. It helps to have allies.

Another way is to provide articles from periodicals and other publications, even medical brochures,lying around where the patient usually likes to sit or stay during the day. He will most likely read them when no one is looking. Leave it to the patient to warm up to the possibility of being eventually treated.

Treating social phobia:

Unfortunately, there is no cure for social phobia but the good news is that its symptoms can be successfully treated. It is important for the patient to be diligent about treatment because neglecting treatment may result in a resurgence of the symptoms.

Psychological treatment has been proven to be one way to treat social phobia, particularly the method known as cognitive behavior therapy. This form of psychological treatment is known to be used not just for social phobia, but a host of other psychological problems as well. Cognitive behavior therapy involves the two components of relaxation therapy and exposure therapy.

Cognitive behavior therapy:

The treatment initially requires the psychologist to initiate probing questions, such as what specific social situations cause his symptoms to flare up, and how he reacts to those social situations. The patient is guided towards identification of thoughts and behaviors which trigger the symptoms. Afterwards, the psychologist can begin teaching effective coping strategies to the patient.

Cognitive behavior therapy might be done on an individual basis or within a group setting. If cognitive behavior therapy is done properly, social phobia can be reduced in severity in time.

Exercise:

Physical exertion has been revealed to be another option for treatment of social phobia. It works because helps the patient to lose his anxiety, stress and tension which would otherwise remain trapped within him. A social phobia patient who regularly exercises may feel calmer and happier afterwards. The patient may also feel better about himself because his level of physical fitness goes up.

Alternative treatment options:

Aromatherapy might be selected as one alternative treatment option. The patient may select scents which leave him feeling less stressed after use.

Doctors may also choose to recommend certain medication for severe cases of shyness/social phobia. However, drugs do not eliminate the root causes of social phobia, they only eliminate some symptoms. Some popular medication which are used are beta blockers, anti-depressants, and tranquilizers. The problem with using medication of any kind though is that they may have undesirable side effects.
About the Author
Peter Murphy is a peak performance expert. He recently produced a very popular free report: 10 Simple Steps to Developing Communication Confidence. Apply now because it is available only at: conversation starters
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