Social Phobia

What is Social Phobia?

Social phobia is defined as a disorder marked by fear of social situations, such as eating or drinking in the presence of other people, talking to other people or speaking in front of groups of people. In addition to a high degree of self-devaluation many people with social phobia perceive their own behavior in social situations as “inadequate” or ‚“embarrassing”. When assessing their own behavior people with social phobia often criticize themselves (“Others would have done better!” or “My performance was nothing special, everyone could have done it!”).

Since people with social phobia experience in social situations a very high degree of discomfort and tension, they try to avoid these situations as best they can. The avoidance of social situations, however, leads to several negative long-term consequences.

Avoidance of social situations

People who suffer from social phobia usually have a very exaggerated fear of attracting negative attention or of embarrassing themselves. This fear is often so severe that more and more social situations are avoided.

Although most people with social anxiety suffer greatly from these long-term consequences, and they themselves are often very aware that the avoidance is not the best solution to their fear of social situations, due to the initial brief drop in discomfort they are caught in this vicious circle.

Dr. Sandra Elze & Dr. Michael Elze