Phobias and Social Anxiety

Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder rooted in specific, excessive, unrealistic fears of particular objects, situations, people, or animals. They are most commonly divided into two categories: social phobias and specific phobias.

Social Anxiety and Phobia

People with social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, feel a paralyzing, irrational self-consciousness about having to interact in social situations. They have an intense fear of being observed or of doing something horribly wrong in front of other people. Their fear goes well above and beyond the mild social discomfort many feel when they are in the spotlight—this disorder can lead to stress and avoidance that can be debilitating to an individual’s routines and daily obligations.

This condition may develop in children, as depicted in the story of Grace; as well as adults, as portrayed in the story of Marcy.

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If you find yourself or your child avoiding common social situations and panicking at the thought of a friendly get-together or outing with friends, your social discomfort may be above the threshold of the milder anxiety that many feel as they anticipate socializing with others. Human connection is an important aspect of our overall mental health and wellbeing. Genetic testing can help you determine how to move towards those connections with ease, rather than fear.

Specific Phobias

Specific phobias are exactly what they sound like: an outsize fear of one particular thing that triggers an anxiety or panic attack, whether the trigger is an inanimate object, feeling confined in a space, an animal, environmental factors, or an uncomfortable social situation. People suffering from a specific phobia are overwhelmed by exaggerated fears, which they are unable to control. Examples of specific phobias include fear of flying, fear of heights, and fear of open spaces, as well as fear of spiders, clowns, doctors, dentists, and other singular triggers.

While pop culture has made light of phobias, the fear people who suffer from phobias experience can be intense and overwhelming, in some instances leading to suicidal thinking and behaviors. Some individuals take drastic measures to avoid their triggers in a way that can cause undue burden to their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Our team of psychiatrists have the tools to help you work through and desensitize yourself to these experiences once and for all.

The story of Rachel illustrates how we evaluate and treat someone with this condition.