Some Frequently Asked Questions about Social Anxiety
/ Social Phobia
Is Social Phobia a Disease?
Hist�rias de humilha��es conduzem �
Fobia Social tem cura?
Qual � o tratamento usado na
Existe uma psicoterapia mais eficaz do que
as outras para a Fobia Social?
Os rem�dios d�o bons resultados na
A Fobia Social � heredit�ria?
Uma pessoa com Fobia Social � insegura?
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Is Social Phobia a Disease?
Social Phobia is classified in the
Classification of Diseases, 10th edition (CID-10),
anxious disorder. Thus, this classification speaks of
Social Phobia inserted into a wider group of
Anxious Disorders. The expression "disease" has been
abandoned by several areas of medicine, including
Psychiatry. At times it is used more as a force
of habit rather than intentionally.
On the other hand, the
Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, (DSM-IV),
produced by the American Psychiatry Association, also
has the expression Social Phobia, but it has introduced
right next to it the expression
Disorder. In DSM-IV, this condition is part of
Do Histories of Humiliation Lead
to Social Anxiety Disorder?
Humiliating experiences, especially in public, or if they come to public knowledge and are repeated, potentially contain elements capable of generating a Social Anxiety
nucleus. On the one hand, humiliation, not necessarily
physical aggression (it may be just verbal), contributes
self-depreciation and self-devaluing. On
the other hand, the action
of the one who humiliates contributes to the humiliated person’s formation of the concept of the "other" as strong and aggressive. Through the
self-concept becomes impregnated
with little personal value and the impression of
impotence in relation to anyone.
This combination of a feeling of
personal fragility and the perception of the other
as being strong and hostile is very common in Social
Is there a Cure for Social Phobia?
Social Phobia can be eliminated by
if the existence of genetic or
biochemical factors associated to the
psychological process is admitted. Given the fact that anxiety is very
panic attacks being common,
medication may be needed.
What is the treatment used in Social Anxiety Disorder?
There are many
treatments for Social Anxiety
Disorder, but those
most frequently used are in the categories of medication, therapy, or a
combination of both. Several types of medication and of psychotherapy
approaches are used.
Is there one psychotherapy
which is more effective than others for Social Phobia?
No. It cannot be said that one approach is more
effective than the others for Social Anxiety Disorder. Even though some therapists
say so, there is no
scientific proof of it. The hard fact is that there is
no time-honored tradition in the different schools of psychotherapy,
except for some exceptions, of assessing treatment outcomes. This is also
due to the difficulty of having reliable instruments to carry out such
It is very common to hail good results based on the observation of former
clients. Although worthy of respect, this is not a scientific instrument.
On the other hand, it is observed that, whatever the school followed
psychotherapist, her results will differ from those secured by
another therapist using the same approach. This shows that client
evolution relates to other variables not foreseen in that school of
Do medications yield good results in Social Phobia?
Yes, many medications yield good results, and all
over the world sufferers of Social Anxiety Disorder are being treated exclusively with
them. On the other hand, medications are ineffective in a small percentage
of persons, due to special
metabolic conditions of a genetic nature. Many
professionals, the author of this website among them, prefer an
association of medication and psychotherapy.
Is Social Phobia hereditary?
There is no proof that Social Phobia is
hereditary. Some epidemiologic data suggest it, but there are not enough
elements to warrant a conclusion. The same occurrence in one of the
parents cannot be regarded as evidence. A person's self-concept, values,
and beliefs, as well as many current
emotions, may have their
roots in childhood, when the self was being formed.
Is a Person with Social Phobia Insecure?
Social Anxiety Disorder generates great uncertainty. The
person knows that, all of a sudden, she may face a hazardous
situation. Even though the person puts up defenses and avoids social
contacts as much as possible, life and obligations do not always make this
practice possible. Thus, anxiety attacks end up occurring. Most sufferers of
Social Anxiety Disorder live in a permanent hazardous state.