Have you ever experienced intense fear when being introduced to a new person? Or have you noticed the acceleration in your heartbeat and the trembling in your voice while giving a presentation? These changes you feel may be social phobia. People with social phobia live with intense anxiety about social situations or performance situations where they can be scrutinized by others.
They are afraid of doing something deficient or wrong, of being evaluated negatively, and they experience the feeling of embarrassment very intensely. Explaining that there may be many reasons for the embarrassment experienced, Psk. İdil Özgüçlü said, “For example, they are worried about showing a sign of anxiety (such as blushing, trembling) and that these symptoms are noticed by others, and this anxiety can drag them into a vicious circle.
They may be afraid of speaking strangely (related to the structure of the speech), or of making mistakes about the content of the speech. They may worry about being judged by others as boring, weird, or inadequate. “People may begin to experience anxiety (anticipatory anxiety) without going social, they either avoid or display safety behaviors,” he says.
Ps. İdil Özgüçlü reminds that people with social phobia may experience physiological symptoms such as increased heart rate, shortness of breath, feeling of pressure in the chest, dizziness, feeling of suffocation, sweating and hot flashes in anxiety and fear situations.
In addition to these, behaviors such as looking away, indecisive tone of voice, indecisive expressions, hesitant gestures, not opening up, acting distant, not answering the phones, not returning calls can be observed in people with social phobia. Özgüçlü underlines that in 95 percent of the patients who applied for treatment, the symptoms of social phobia begin in adolescence.
Despite this, Psk said that the patients started treatment mostly in their 30s. Özgüçlü continues: “The 12-month prevalence rate of social phobia is 7.9%, and the lifetime prevalence is 13%. The incidence in women is 2/3 higher than in men. However, it is not possible to decide whether a person has social phobia or not without consulting a professional based on the symptoms alone.