Social Phobia

explanatory Essay
1377 words
1377 words

Social Phobia

Sarah walks into a crowded classroom on her first day at her new university. She tries to remain inconspicuous as she slides into a seat at the back of the room. A few minutes later, the instructor walks through the door. He goes around the room, asking the students to introduce themselves to their classmates. As Sarah's turn to speak approaches, her heart beats rapidly, her body trembles, sweat forms on her forehead, breathing becomes difficult, and a nauseus feeling overcomes her. She quietly thinks, “What if I say something embarrassing? What if I sound stupid?” Sarah sinks deeper into her seat, desperately hoping that the instructor will skip her.

Sarah, the fictional character described in the paragraph above, suffers from social phobia (also called social anxiety disorder). According to the DSM-IV, social anxiety disorder (social phobia) is “a marked and persistent fear of one or more social performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or possible scrutiny by others” (American Psychiatric Association). Social phobia is much more common than one might assume. It is ranked as the third most common pyschiatric disorder (Beidel, Turner, 19). Research in the fields of neuroscience and psychiatry has proven that the three main factors that work together to cause social phobia are genes, brain composition, and life experiences. Studies have also shown that common effects of social phobia include an inability to form satisfying interpersonal relationships, limited academic and occupational opportunities, and alcohol or drug abuse.

When analyzing the causes of social phobia, life events must be considered first. Ina Marteinsdottir and her colleagues, researchers at the Uppsala Unive...

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...lly, Sucheta, Cynthia Petty, and David Simpson. Anxiety Disorders. New York:

Chelsea House, 2006. Print.

Freeman, Daniel, and Jason Freeman. Anxiety: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford:

Oxford UP, 2012. Print.

Marteinsdottir, Ina, Anna Svensson, Marcus Svedberg, Ulla Maria Anderberg, and Lars

Von Knorring. "The Role of Life Events in Social Phobia." Nordic Journal of

Psychiatry 61.3 (2007): 207-12. Print.

Mathur, Divya, Ph.D. "The Neurobiology of Social Anxiety Disorder." Brain Blogger.

Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation, 22 Apr. 2010. Web. 02 Feb. 2014.


Nauert, Rick, Ph.D. "Genetic Disposition for Anxiety." Psych Central. Psych Central, 4

Mar. 2008. Web. 2 Feb. 2014. .

In this essay, the author

  • Describes sarah's social phobia as she tries to remain inconspicuous in a crowded classroom on her first day at her new university.
  • Explains that sarah, the fictional character described in the paragraph above, suffers from social phobia (also called social anxiety disorder). it is the third most common pyschiatric disorder.
  • Explains that ina marteinsdottir and her colleagues conducted an experiment to determine what life events could be associated with social phobia.
  • Explains that negative life events cause social phobia, and that genetic makeup can make one person more vulnerable to the disorder.
  • Explains that abnormalities in the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and gamma aminobutyric acid are associated with social phobia.
  • Explains the effects of social phobia, which can be detrimental to people. social phobics are held back by their fears and are less likely to get married.
  • Explains that social phobia affects relationships, academic performance, and occupational opportunities. social phobics skip class to avoid oral presentations and seek jobs that require little social contact.
  • Explains that people with social phobia often use alcohol or anxiolytic drugs to reduce their anxiety in social situations.
  • Explains that social phobia is a complex disorder caused by biological and environmental factors, including genetics, brain composition, and life events. without treatment, people with the disorder can live unfulfilling lives of solitude.
  • Cites the american psychiatric association's diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: dsm-iv.
  • Explains that anxiety: a very short introduction. oxford: oxford up, 2012.
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