Why do people face their fears

Psychiatry, Psychosomatics & Psychotherapy


Socially fearful people should face their fear

A social fear is an acquired or learned fear. Because it has been learned, however, it can also be overcome if those affected work on it.

People who suffer from a social phobia have an exaggerated or inappropriately strong fear of attracting attention, being clumsy, or failing. They fear being judged negatively by others and as a result tend to withdraw and increasingly avoid community activities. “It is extremely important for those affected that they do not allow themselves to be guided by their fears, but face them. Like any fear, a social phobia can only be overcome by confronting the fear-inducing situation and discarding the unfavorable avoidance behavior, ”says Christa Roth-Sackenheim, Chairwoman of the Professional Association of German Psychiatrists (BVDP) in Krefeld. A social fear is an acquired or learned fear. Because it has been learned, however, it can also be overcome if those affected work on it. “You lose fears if you do what you are afraid of and experience that what you feared does not occur and the worries were unfounded. This confrontation may initially be difficult to imagine for those affected, but it is an essential part of the treatment, ”says the psychiatrist.

In addition to anti-anxiety medication, behavioral measures and the learning of relaxation techniques have proven effective in therapy. The subjectively perceived threat to one's own self-esteem is often decisive for the development and development of social fears. “It is important for those affected to learn to strengthen their self-esteem. The more you accept yourself, the less you are afraid of others and their possible criticism or rejection, ”adds Dr. Roth-Sackenheim added. The aim of therapy is to ensure that the social phobia disappears or at least can be brought under control in such a way that the patient can deal with it confidently and the disorder does not further negatively affect his or her life. A social phobia is easy to treat.

Unresolved social anxiety can lead to enormous personal and professional limitations. Important decisions in life, such as career advancement, are often made dependent on and influenced by the phobia in order to avoid problematic situations. Social isolation can also increase if those affected stay away from family and professional celebrations and limit their private contacts. “If they cannot avoid such situations, they are often extremely tense and experience a number of organic complaints as a result of their psychological and physical tension. Significant symptoms - such as dizziness, cramping, palpitations or nausea - are also a distinguishing feature from "mere" shyness, "adds the psychiatrist and from Andernach. "Ultimately, however, what counts is the personal level of suffering, ie how much you are limited by your fear of whether there is a disorder that requires treatment". A specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy is the right contact for any complaints. In addition to agoraphobia and panic attacks, social phobia is the most common form of anxiety disorders - up to 10 percent of Germans suffer from it.

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