Social Phobia

November 7, 2018| Health and Wellbeing /

Remember that time you walked into a quiet room and unintentionally became ~that person~ making the loudest noise? Be it a meeting, an exam, or even a movie theatre. Your body flushed with embarrassment, humiliation, maybe even guilt?

Maybe you felt a wave of heat overcome your body, you worried whether everyone could see your face flush red or the sweat beginning to build on your underarms; within seconds every sense in your body switched on to how you were suddenly very recognisable amongst the crowd. You were overcome with this idea that everyone in the space was watching you, casting judgement, and feeling irritated with you for being ~that person~ causing the disruption. Maybe you wanted to hide at that point, or run back through the door; maybe a part of you had wished you’d never arrived in the first place? You sat down though, maybe you apologised for causing the disruption, and then you continued about your normal day.

That worry? The facial flushing? The feeling of your heartbeat in your ears? It was fleeting, and now maybe you chuckle about the memory of that moment.

That feeling though, it isn’t fleeting for everyone. People who live with social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder, is something they feel most of the time- regardless of whether they’re being the loudest person in the quietest room or not.

People who have social anxiety disorder often feel anxious in social settings on a level of which is disruptive to their everyday lives; they can feel uncontrollably more anxious than others, such as those who get a bit nervous presenting in front of a crowd. Often, people can feel so anxious that many avoid social interactions entirely; even typically mundane and common practices like eating at a restaurant. For people who sit on the extreme end of the spectrum these practices aren’t just mildly nerve-provoking, they’re situations which provoke a lump-in-your-throat anxious feeling, they’re terrifying, and can both be connected to, or cause, real physical symptoms such as blushing, trembling, crying, stammering and stumbling of speech to uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhoea.  

Maya Zerman, Director of Strategies and Operations at Epworth Clinic in Camberwell says that “logic checking” is an imperative skill and one that can be developed with help if need be, and ultimately focuses on self-soothing management; giving yourself the ability to recognise the reality of the perceived danger.

GP’s can refer you on for further support to a psychiatrist; who can assist in the management and treatment of the condition. Treatment plans may include prescribed medication, psychotherapy or a combination. GPs can also help through writing a referral for a mental health clinician or a psychiatrist, if they believe it’ll benefit you. The above is a list of common options for treatment and management, however, it’s important to recognise there is no quick fix. GPs, medications, and mental health professionals are there to help you through the process with the end goal of helping you to feel safe, secure, happy and healthy. No one case is alike, and they will work with you to find the best option- they’re on your team. Recognising that it’s okay to ask for help, and accepting that help, is as equally important as it is to offer to be of support to someone going through mental ill-health; it might not always feel like it but you aren’t, and you’re not alone.

Maya works at the Epworth Clinic, which specialises in helping patients improve their mental health and their sense of wellbeing. The clinic holds experience within treating, and also helping to build tailored management techniques for a range of mental health conditions.

Need someone to talk to now? Reach out to Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.



Emily Wexler

Contributor

Join the conversation on The Village



November 14, 2018| Health and Wellbeing/

What to expect when you visit the Emergency Department

The emergency department assesses & treats people with serious injuries as well as those in need of emergency treatment.

November 14, 2018| Healthcare News/

Imaging Safety

Getting an x-ray is not the frightening concept it once might have been. We know so much about all types of scans and the potential hazards and how to avoid them, and technology is rapidly advancing. Some hospitals even boast an EOS now, which allows them to complete scans with 6-9 times less radiation than typical x-rays.

November 13, 2018| Our Community/

Get in Touch with Nature Without Leaving the City

It’s rarely contested that being around nature has benefits for your health. It ensures you’re spending more time outdoors, gives you a sense of connectedness with the world, and has been found to lower stress and reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. The best news is that even in the city there are many places to get in touch with nature. Here are five of them:

November 13, 2018| Our Community/

Camino de Compostela Fundraiser

Twenty-five weary participants have just returned home after completing the final section of the Spanish Camino de Compostela.

Walking 115km over six days they were blessed with perfect weather, some authentic historic farmhouse accommodation and knowledgeable guides.

November 12, 2018| Our Community/

Our Favourite Victorian Farmer's Markets

It’s easy for anyone who has travelled overseas and comes home to Australia to realise how fortunate we are when it comes to affordable and readily available fresh, wholesome food.