Health Tip: Social Phobia
Being exposed to the fear may help you get over it
(HealthDayNews) -- If you have a persistent fear of being watched and judged by others, you might have a social phobia, also called social anxiety.
The disorder is characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in daily social situations, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation, such as a fear of speaking to others or eating or drinking in front of others. In its most severe form, the disorder can be so broad that a person has symptoms whenever they are around other people.
Physical symptoms including blushing, profuse sweating and trembling can heighten the fear of disapproval; the symptoms themselves can become an additional focus of fear, creating a vicious cycle.
Treatments can involve antidepressant drugs and/or cognitive-behavioral therapy, in which people gradually become more comfortable with situations that frighten them by being exposed to those situations and learning ways to deal with them.