It is quite normal to feel anxious before making a public speech or presentation. However, there are people who easily get anxious even with the thought of making a public appearance. Such people are said to have social phobia.
People with this mental condition are scared of facing and interacting with unknown people. They think that people are constantly judging them, or, that they may create some embarrassing situation for themselves in front of others. They become so anxious that their anxiety leads to panic attacks.
It is said that, it is caused due to an imbalance of a neurotransmitter that sends information from one nerve cell to another in the human brain. This mental condition is also believed to be a hereditary. It can also be seen in people who have had an overprotective childhood or a deeply humiliating experience in the past.
The major symptom of this mental state is a person avoiding social situations totally. The individual starts making excuses for not attending functions, giving presentations, or meeting unknown people.
The idea of attending such events becomes so scary, that it affects the individual's daily life and routine. Some physical symptoms which include shivering, muscle tension, diarrhea, excessive sweating, stammering, cold and shaky hands, no eye contact, etc., are also observed.
Diagnosis and Treatment
People having this problem should consult a doctor. If left untreated, it can have an adverse effect on their lives. Actually, there are no medical tests to determine if an individual suffers from this disorder. The doctor, however, may ask the patient certain questions and conduct certain psychological tests, to gauge if he/she is affected by this disorder.
Once the situation is diagnosed, it can be fully cured with proper treatment. The most effective treatment is cognitive-behavior therapy, along with drug therapy. The therapist, working with the individual, should motivate him/her to think in a positive way and help him/her to face real life situations.
Antidepressants are sometimes given to the patient to control the physical symptoms. The individual may also have to attend counseling sessions, where the counselor helps in boosting the self-esteem of the patient.
Social anxiety is a serious problem. A person diagnosed with it could be avoided by others around him for being a loser. The resulting loneliness may lead the individual to the ways of alcohol or drug addiction.
If a friend or family member is suffering from it, you should try your best to support and help him/her out. You should try to make them understand that even though life is full of challenges, it is beautiful and worth living!