“I’m afraid of people,” or what social phobia is and how to deal with it

Social phobia is the fear of doing something in front of an audience. This obsessive fear is irrational and logically inexplicable. People cannot control themselves during a panic attack. Medical psychiatrists identify the causes of the disease and develop an individual treatment plan for social phobia. It may include taking medications, hypnosis, or sessions with a psychologist.

General information about the disease

Social phobia is one of the most common mood and anxiety disorders. It develops in men as often as in women. Clinical manifestations and prognosis depend on the stage and severity of the pathological process. If a person has spent many years avoiding social situations or certain people, it may take a long time for them to recover.

If you have social phobia, you usually worry that others will notice that you are anxious, such as that you are flushed, sweating, trembling, or having trouble speaking.

The main fears include:

  • I'll be awkward.
  • I'll look weird.
  • I am stupid.
  • I'll look embarrassed.
  • I'm boring.

Typical situations that social phobics fear:

  • Group performances.
  • Presentations.
  • Meeting new people.
  • Conversation with an older person.
  • Eating or drinking in public places.
  • Using the phone.
  • Attending parties.
  • Expressing your opinion.
  • Return of defective goods.
  • Use of public toilets.
  • Attracting attention to yourself.

Typically, social phobia affects lonely people who are accustomed to spending a lot of time alone.
They do not easily tolerate public places; they are comfortable alone with themselves. The disease can develop in people of different age categories and social status. However, people engaged in creative activities are most susceptible to it - office workers, writers, artists, programmers, gamers. Social phobes have no friends , it is difficult for them to adapt to society, arrange their personal life, and find a suitable job. Such people avoid contact and withdraw into themselves, focusing on their fears. The problem gets worse if it is not addressed. But social phobics are unable to ask for help, they cannot communicate calmly, and it is difficult for them to tell even their family doctor about their fears. In addition, they often have other mental disorders: neurosis-like states and deep depression. Trying to cope with their fears, social phobes often resort to alcohol, but this only leads to alcohol addiction.

In such a situation, loved ones should resort to active actions. They are the ones who must recognize the disease in time and be puzzled by questions of how to cure social phobia.


Social phobia negatively affects the quality of life; a person is in a state of anxiety and tension in various situations involving other people. In the absence of timely diagnosis and treatment, the quality of life of a patient with social phobia gradually decreases. Problems arise with social life (building a family, finding friends), and the very way of life changes. It is difficult for a person to seek medical help, find a job (prefers vacancies that have no direct or no contact with other people), and stagnation occurs in career growth and social skills. Inconveniences are also brought by physiological symptoms that increase over time. Without treatment, social phobia can lead to complete self-isolation of the patient.

Overcoming an illness through self-healing is possible if common sense and willpower prevail over fear. To overcome social phobia, it is necessary to analyze personal experience in search of a traumatic event that led to the development of the disorder. It is necessary to fight the wrong reaction to the situation rooted in the subconscious, correctly evaluate it and replace it with a constructive one. However, self-cure of the disorder is not always effective and not for everyone; often one person will not be able to cope with his disorder.

Social phobia is highly treatable. Early diagnosis and prescribed treatment will help to avoid inadequate ways of adapting a person to his condition and the development of other mental disorders against the background of the main one.

Signs that should alert you

The main symptom of social phobia is the avoidance of situations that provoke anxiety and discomfort. When communicating with people, the patient develops specific:

  1. Behavioral reactions - reflexive tension: panic and awkwardness, the desire to run away or hide somewhere.
  2. Cognitive manifestations - impaired concentration, inability to control one’s own thoughts, a feeling of emptiness, self-focus. Social phobes are often very demanding of themselves.
  3. Physiological signs - tremors of the limbs, vestibulation disturbances, severe sweating, breathing problems, rapid heartbeat.
  4. Emotional reactions - nervousness, irritability, mood swings, tearfulness.

Social phobes are panicky about what others will say about them. If these symptoms appear, be sure to dial 8(969)060-93-93 and make an appointment with a psychiatrist.

This complex irrational fear

Performing certain social actions, or actions accompanied by attention from strangers (fear of the gaze of passers-by, inability to do anything while being observed from the outside, for example, making work calls in the presence of colleagues), is not as simple as it seems at first glance. Social phobes are affected by uncontrolled fear, it fetters the will and affects various aspects of a person’s life

Having met an acquaintance who does not seem eager to communicate, does not make eye contact and is only able to mutter something under his breath, many are ready to attribute such behavior to a bad character, a bad mood or a general dislike of humanity. After all, it’s not so difficult to pull yourself together and maintain a basic conversation. But it seems so to people who are not familiar with such a problem from their own experience.

No one has any questions about whether schizophrenia can be considered a real disease; it is not customary to ask about this, much less try to impose your opinion on how to deal with it. But when it comes to social phobia, there will definitely be those who will convince you to throw the nonsense out of your head, skeptically present “arguments” that supposedly confirm that social phobia is a whim, and persuade you to pull yourself together.

A person with social phobia may well realize that all his fears are exaggerated or groundless, and yet this does not make overcoming them any easier. Some people with social phobia are afraid of many simple social situations, while others are afraid of only a few, such as those involving a lot of publicity.

Social phobia is sometimes called the disease of missed opportunities because all those who suffer from it constantly blame themselves for indecision, inexplicable stupor when it is important to take certain actions, turning down great chances simply because they might lead to contact with many strangers, and The stress from this is too much

Causes of social phobia

The most common reasons may be:

  • attention deficit
  • hyperactivity (ADHD),
  • psychotraumatic situations that usually extend from childhood.

Having experienced something negative in childhood associated with society, a person may one day experience it again. A negative reaction hidden deep in the subconscious returns and develops into a phobia.

For example, a person experienced shame in childhood, and this was deposited in his memory. He misinterpreted the situation in his youth, so the experience was repressed into his subconscious, and when something similar happened again, he began to develop a fear of society.

Unpleasant feelings are reinforced by stereotypical beliefs . A social phobe convinces himself that he is untalented, that he will not succeed, that he is unlucky and worthless in life, that people will criticize him and begin to judge him anyway. Such beliefs are formed from improper upbringing.

What to do in such a situation? First of all, contact a psychiatrist.

Main categories of fear of living

Fear of living can only arise under certain conditions.

There are three main categories:

  • circumstances that cannot depend on a person;
  • circumstances that a person causes independently;
  • By knowing oneself, a person delves deeply into the structure of his psyche.

Independent circumstances usually include serious illnesses and the death of relatives and friends. If such events occur in a person’s life, then he admits the idea that something similar could happen to him.

A person can also independently provoke the fear of death. This category primarily includes people who are accustomed to risking their own lives. Examples include bikers, racers, and hookers. They believe that they perform such dangerous activities to obtain adrenaline. In practice, it turns out that they are deceiving themselves, thus testing themselves. Such people are trying to understand what fear of life is, how it borders on death. Some do this out of curiosity, and some allow such situations on a subconscious level.

There are times when a person tries to know himself. He thinks a lot, reads relevant literature, tries to understand who he is and what he is doing here. Along with such thoughts comes fear of life and fear of life.

Stages of crisis in experiencing the fear of death

It is customary to distinguish four main stages of fear of death. They are mainly divided by age categories:

  • from 4 to 6 years;
  • from 10 to 12 years;
  • from 17 to 24 years old;
  • from 35 to 55 years.

Let us examine in more detail the distinctive features of those who are afraid. During the period of life from 4 to 6 years, a child first develops a fear of death. If loved ones pass away, this is the first stress in life. It remains deep in the child’s memory and influences subsequent thoughts, decisions, and actions.

Between the ages of 10 and 12, a teenager may experience a deep sense of loss and emptiness. It is not so much a real event that can cause trauma, but rather actions in a film on a TV screen.

At the age of 16-24, young people develop a strong sense of independence, the ability to bear responsibility for themselves and the people around them. This is where the most striking signs of fear of living begin.

From 35 to 55 years old, a person begins to look for meaning in life. An understanding of the fear of death comes to him more and more clearly. The individual realizes that everything has a cycle, man is mortal. This is even more worrying. The soul-searching begins. Some are rethinking their values, some are placing new emphasis in life. There are those who, at a relatively young age, begin to write wills, enter a monastery, and become more actively involved in spiritual practices. There is a category of people who commit suicide because they cease to see any meaning in it. The latter do this because of lost reference points, lack of a value scale, and lack of support from other people.

As soon as fears are overcome, a person begins to develop even more. The main thing is to realize what is happening, stop your thoughts, and try to sensibly evaluate their content.

When people think about how to stop being afraid of life and death, they do not always want to give an objective assessment of reality. This is associated with repression and suppression of thoughts, a feeling of exclusivity and the construction of defenses. Destructive work is going on at the subconscious level. It may later manifest itself as unpleasant symptoms.

How to get rid of social phobia

It is quite possible to get rid of the fear of society if you set such a goal for yourself. The help of the patient’s relatives is of great importance, since it will not be easy for a social phobia person to fight his fears. First of all, it is necessary to change the inadequate assessment of a psychotraumatic situation, internalized by the subconscious, by reliving it, interpreting it differently - in a positive way.

To help such patients, medical professionals use:

  • treatment of social phobia with hypnosis;
  • cognitive behavioral psychotherapy (CBT);
  • taking medications.


There are two types of social phobia:

  • Specific – with this form of the disease the problem is quite limited, that is, a person’s anxiety appears only in one or in some specific situations. But in most other cases this does not happen. For example, fear can appear when speaking in public, etc. Also, a similar form can be expressed in the form of anxiety about the expectation of failure. The patient fears that he will not be able to perform usual actions in public. But in general, a person is able to adequately establish social contacts.
  • Generalized - with this form, people feel anxiety in many situations related to the need to communicate and speak in public. With this form, the disease begins earlier than with the specific form. In this case, the symptoms are more pronounced - depression , anxiety , etc. In this case, people may prefer social isolation and conscious refusal of social contacts.

Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a treatment for social phobia that involves changing the way you think, feel, and behave in social situations. The course includes:

  • Continuous assessment of a person's level of anxiety in relation to their social phobia.
  • Teaching strategies (such as mindfulness) to help manage anxiety symptoms. Encourage the regular use of control methods.

  • Behavioral interventions. CBT should focus on gradual exposure to dangerous situations. Cognitive interventions. CBT helps people with social phobia identify and challenge their fears. A person must monitor his thoughts and label his mental distortions during certain situations throughout the day.
  • Redistribution of attention. Once the patient has identified and challenged his maladaptive thoughts, he should be encouraged to focus on the present and think realistically about the current situation rather than fearing future outcomes. Mindfulness-based activities can also help you focus on the present

Some people with social anxiety need to learn basic conversational and interpersonal skills and practice them in minimally unfavorable social situations.

Six steps to overcome social phobia

How to overcome social phobia? To overcome social phobia on your own, use a simple 6-step program (social phobia, way to overcome).


Anxiety is the result of self-hypnosis. By playing out negative scenarios of an upcoming event, you instill in yourself an attitude of anxiety and anticipation of danger directly during the event. Train yourself to think about the upcoming event at a time when you are in a relaxed state. Take a warm bath, light aromatic candles, achieve a calm and confident state. In this state, think about the upcoming event. Practice this as often as possible, soon a stable connection will be formed in your mind between a relaxed state, self-confidence and an exciting event.

Search for social phobic situations

The more you avoid something, the more dangerous it seems to your psyche. Therefore, stop avoiding frightening situations, consciously look for them, immerse yourself in them, imagine what worries you. Don't forget to relax beforehand.

Look around

A social phobe is obsessed with himself and self-control. Learn to notice what is happening around you and concentrate on the little things. For example, consider the color of the walls, people's clothes, paintings that hang on the walls

If you feel that you are blushing or sweating, then try to switch your attention. The more you think, “I need to calm down,” the more worried you become.

Ask questions

Learn to be interested in people, to switch attention from your inner world to the inner world of other people. Ask them questions that require a detailed answer.

Listen carefully to the interlocutor, clarify something, ask additional questions, express your interest in the interlocutor.

Stop beating yourself up

Imagination is the enemy of a social phobe. The man is intimidating himself. For some reason he is sure that he can read people's thoughts. Every time you catch yourself trying to guess other people’s thoughts, say: “I actually don’t know what this person is thinking about me right now, or what people are thinking about me.”

Keep a positive attitude

Think about what thoughts you usually have when going into an exciting meeting. If you're thinking, "I hope I don't feel like I always do," that's completely wrong. But if you say “I feel great, I’m confident in myself,” this will create a positive attitude. Remember a situation in which you felt confident, remember this state, transfer it to the situation that is scary now.

Be yourself

The problem with a social phobe is that he does not accept himself, does not allow himself to be himself. Allow yourself to be imperfect, not like others, not what someone supposedly wants you to be. Play the role of a jester, allow yourself to be ridiculous and funny. This will give you confidence and allow you to relax. Practice in front of the mirror every day, then ask your friends to become your spectators.

Cost of services

Initial consultation with a psychiatrist (60 min.)6,000 rub.
Repeated consultation5,000 rub.
Consultation with a psychiatrist-narcologist (60 min.)5,000 rub.
Consultation with a psychologist3,500 rub.
Consultation with Gromova E.V. (50 minutes) 12,000 rub.
Psychotherapy (session)7,000 rub.
Psychotherapy (5 sessions)30,000 rub.
Psychotherapy (10 sessions)60,000 rub.
Group psychotherapy (3-7 people)3,500 rub.
Psychotherapy session with E.V. Gromova (50 minutes) 12,000 rub.
Ward for 4 persons10,000 rub./day
Ward for 3 persons13,000 rub./day
Ward 1 bed VIP23,000 rub./day
Individual post5,000 rub.
PETE15,000 rub./day

This list does not contain all prices for services provided by our clinic. The full price list can be found on the “Prices” , or by calling: 8(969)060-93-93. Initial consultation is FREE!

Tests and diagnostics

A specialist can diagnose social phobia based on certain criteria. This diagnosis is made if a person has fear and anxiety. The following characteristics are taken into account:

  • Manifestations are intense, present for six months or more.
  • Anxiety concerns social situations - one or more.
  • There is a fear of receiving a negative assessment from other people.
  • Anxiety develops in certain situations.
  • The condition affects social life.

During the diagnostic process, the doctor can use the Liebowitz scale, which includes 24 given situations with questions. The answers received enable the doctor to draw appropriate conclusions.

Social phobia must be differentiated from the following disorders:

  • Schizophrenia.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder .
  • Depression.
  • Social inadequacy.

How to treat social phobia with hypnosis

Hypnotherapy is one of the effective ways to treat phobic disorder . By putting the patient into a trance, the psychotherapist finds out the cause of social phobia. Having re-experienced a traumatic incident, a person adequately assesses the situation that caused him fear of society. Subsequently, additional psychotherapeutic settings can be made to the patient under hypnosis.

If you are faced with a manifestation of social phobia, just dial 8(969)060-93-93 . Our specialists will help you concentrate on positive attitudes, gain self-confidence, reduce fear, and over time, get rid of people’s fear altogether.


There are several theories about the pathogenesis of social phobia.

  • The author of the psychoanalytic theory is Sigmund Freud, who argued that phobias are the result of too strong a psychological defense to control anxiety. Control is carried out through psychological defense mechanisms - repression and transference. Repression occurs when anxiety-provoking signals are pushed deep into the unconscious. Transference – fear is transferred to those situations and objects that are easily controlled. But this theory was not further developed.
  • There is also a behaviorist theory that states that fear of situations and events is formed through classical conditioning. Even after a person experiences such a feeling once, he begins to avoid certain objects and situations and does not control his fear.

As for the characteristics of nervous activity in social phobia, scientists have confirmed that this disorder is associated with a lack of certain neurotransmitters and an imbalance in them.


Diet for the nervous system

  • Efficacy: therapeutic effect after 2 months
  • Timing: constantly
  • Cost of food: 1700-1800 rubles per week

Nutrition should be rational, nutritious, and contain foods and dishes that are beneficial to the nervous system.

There is scientific evidence that consuming fermented foods that contain probiotics . They have a positive effect on intestinal microflora , which, in turn, affects the body’s perception of stressful situations. It is recommended to include in the diet:

  • yoghurts, fermented milk products;
  • soy milk;
  • sauerkraut;
  • seaweed;
  • black chocolate.

It is important to completely avoid alcoholic beverages.


As primary methods of prevention, it is recommended to follow the following rules:

  • Try to avoid serious stressful situations and increase stress resistance.
  • Develop communication skills.
  • Raising children correctly: avoiding excessive care and harsh criticism.
  • Lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

As for how to prevent a relapse of this condition, it is important for a person to follow all the doctor’s advice, attend psychotherapy sessions, and not drink alcohol or drugs.

Consequences and complications

In the absence of proper therapy, there is a risk of other mental disorders, in particular depression and anxiety, joining social phobia. Such patients are at risk of developing suicidal tendencies.

People with this disorder may use alcohol and drugs to cope with communication barriers. Consequently, there is a high risk of developing addiction and associated physical illnesses.

Often such patients create special rituals to overcome attacks of fear. Accordingly, in difficult situations they can constantly repeat these rituals, which ultimately leads to the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

List of sources

  • Barlow D. Clinical Guide to Mental Disorders / 3rd ed. - St. Petersburg: Peter, 2008. - 912 p.
  • Wittchen G.-U. Encyclopedia of mental health / Trans. with him. AND I. Sapozhnikova, E.L. Gushansky. - Moscow: Aletheia, 2006. - 552 p. — (Humanistic psychiatry).
  • Zalevsky, G.V. Fixed forms of behavior of individual and group systems (in culture, education, science, norm and pathology) / GV. Zalewski. - M.; Tomsk, 2004.
  • Sagalakova O.A., Truevtsev D.V. Social fears and social phobias. - Tomsk: Publishing house Tom. University, 2007. - 210 p.
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