Social phobia involves a fear of embarrassment or humiliation in situations where you may be exposed to the scrutiny and judgment of others or you must perform. It is a fear of being with other people which can cause significant restrictions on the way in which an individual can lead their life. This can make it hard to eat out or speak to other people, particularly if you are meeting someone for the first time or at parties.
The most common form of social phobia is a fear of speaking in public. Other social phobias include:
- A fear of blushing in public
- A fear of choking or spilling food whilst eating in public
- A fear of crowds
- A fear of using public toilets
People can also experience a number of physical symptoms such as a very dry mouth, sweating, palpitations, wanting to pass water or empty their bowels and a feeling of numbness or pins and needles in their fingers and toes.
Specific phobias are common and typically involve a strong fear and avoidance of one particular type of object or situation. The fear and avoidance typical of specific phobias can cause an individual significant distress and interfere with daily functioning and lead to increased anxiety.
Among the most common specific phobias are the following:
- Fear of animals
- Fear of heights
- Fear of flying
- Fear of lifts
- Fear of the doctor/dentist
- Fear of thunder and/or lightning
- Fear of blood, your own or others
- Illness phobia
Specific phobias are often childhood fears which were never outgrown, may develop after a traumatic event such as an accident, natural disaster, illness or for example, being bitten by an animal. These may also develop from the repeated observation of a parent or primary caregiver who also has a specific phobia.
I cannot thank Talking Changes enough for helping me overcome a 40 year phobia. It is an excellent service.