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Symptoms Of Social Phobia

Nov 29, 2007
There are some very important criteria that doctors and mental health experts use to diagnose the symptoms of social phobia. Usually, most medical practitioners do not treat clients during the diagnosis stage as people with a mental illness, but people who need help to rectify their symptoms.

The first step taken towards ascertaining if a person has social phobia symptoms is by treating the person as a unique and special individual. The person is allowed to freely express what it is they are feeling, experiencing and how this is affecting their lives. By these criteria and only these is a doctor able to determine if the symptoms being experienced are in fact social phobia, as it is also known.

Social phobic symptoms are very specific, but not all of them are experienced by every patient. These will all show a persistent and continuing experience of the fear of socialization or the inability to perform in any situation where the fear of embarrassment may happen. These symptoms include:

* A continuing and marked fear of a single or multiple socialization or performance related situations where the patient has to expose themselves to people they don't know and the potential for judgment by those people. The patient's fears display a concern about being embarrassed or possibly humiliated. For example, some patients the best clue to this is in their ability to socialize with their peers and form new relationships with people within that age group.

* The act of exposure to a fearful socialization situation almost always leads to feelings of extreme anxiety, which can manifest itself in the form of a 'panic attack'. Panic attacks can vary according to the age and person, but in children this can manifest itself in the form of avoiding other children they don't know, freezing in their actions, having temper tantrums and/or unexplained crying.

*The appearance of a fear that may be unreasonable or excessive in nature. However, in the case of children this is not usually a factor.

* The avoidance or endurance of fearful performance or social situations and/or the endurance of such situations that provokes an attack of extreme distress or anxiety (panic attack).

* An unreasonable avoidance, distress or stressful anticipation of fearful performance or social situations that significantly debilitates the patient's daily routine, ability to function normally at school or other social relationships or activities, which can result in a phobia about having a social phobia attack.

* If the patient is below eighteen years old and the occurrence of these symptoms has lasted at least six months.

* The subsequent avoidance or fears are not as a result of any physiological effects, such as the abuse of drugs, medication or any other underlying medical illness, and cannot be diagnosed as another form of mental illness such as separation anxiety disorder, panic disorder without agoraphobia (or with), schizoid personality disorder, body dysmorphic disorder or separation anxiety disorder.

* In the case where another underlying mental or medical illness is determined, the patient's fear has no relation to Parkinson's disease tremors, Bulimia Nervosa, Anorexia Nervosa or stuttering.

Social phobia is very hard to diagnose for most medical practitioners because its symptoms can be attributed to many other mental illnesses, medical conditions and/or possibly the abuse of drugs or medications. The symptoms of social phobia can affect the patient's ability to live a normal life and may interfere with their ability to enjoy normal social events and experiences that most of us would take for granted. In fact, as many studies have shown, the symptoms themselves are not enough on their own to diagnose this disorder, but just a part of the whole process. It is important that as a potential patient of this that you understand that along with the symptoms and possibly causes may come the possibility of traumatic experiences, whether known or unknown to you at this time. So, it is vital that if you are experiencing these symptoms that you seek medical advice first from your family doctor and then an experienced psychologist or psychiatrist. Do not be alarmed by the many questions they may ask you regarding your childhood or adulthood. These are meant to better assist you and the doctor in determining if the symptoms you are experiencing are in fact truly those of social phobia.
About the Author
Gary Miller was so scared that he actually passed out during a presentation and couldn't talk after due to numerous social anxieties. To learn more about his journey to recovery and weekly FREE Social Anxiety coping techniques, you can visit his web site at: http://www.Social-Anxiety-Cure.com
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