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Dr. Vijayakumar D.R MBBS, DPM, DNB (NIMHANS), CCST (UK)
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Phobias are among the most common off all psychiatric disorders. Specific phobias affects 5-10 % of the general population and social phobia affects about 3 %.

A. What are phobias?

Phobias are marked and persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable which is triggered by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation. Exposure to the situation cause intense anxiety and distress. People with phobias avoid the anxiety provoking situation.

There are many kinds of phobias

  1. Blood phobia: runs in the family
  2. Phobias for heights
  3. Phobias for lifts, escalators
  4. Phobias for flying in aircraft
  5. Phobias for enclosed places  ETC
  6. Social anxiety disorder or social phobia is one of the most common psychiatric disorder with a life time prevalence off 12 %. It is more common among women than men but both men and women equally seek help for the problem.

B. What are the symptoms of social Phobia?

There are definite criteria to diagnose social phobia

Some of the symptoms are

  1. A marked and persistent fear of social situations in which person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others.
  2. Fear that he or she will act in way that will be humiliating or embarrassing.
  3. Exposure to the feared social situation provokes anxiety.
  4. The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable.
  5. Avoiding the feared social situation.
  6. Impaired socio –occupational functioning.

Duration of above symptoms should at least be for 6 months.