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Social Phobia or Anxiety as Epidemiological Phenomenon

The main purpose of this report is to discuss social phobia or anxiety as an epidemiological phenomenon. First, it is of crucial importance to define this mental disorder. In Richard Heimbergs opinion, it can be interpreted as apprehension, fear, or discomfort, arising in connection with social activities or interactions with other people (Heimberg, 1995). It is difficult to identify the root causes of this illness because it may be produced by a great number of stimuli or factors, such as oversensitivity, negative social experiences, substance or alcohol abuse, and many others.

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According to the report, published by the National Institute of Mental Health, we can regard psychological disorders and social anxiety in particular, in terms of epidemiology because mental illnesses follow some patterns and there are certain regularities, especially if we are speaking about their prevalence among age groups (NIMH, 1999). The researchers state that approximately twenty percent of American children tend to suffer from certain mental diseases. It is argued that anxiety disorders comprise 13 percent, whereas social phobia constitutes 8 percent. As regards adults, it should be pointed out that the numbers are drastically different, and this age group is not prone to social anxiety (NIMH, 1999).

Naturally, it should be borne in mind that the situation is not static because psychiatrists make every attempt to improve the situation. Apart from that, one cannot overlook the fact that this report does focus particularly on social phobias, though it indicates that some age groups are more or less susceptible to certain mental disorders. Nevertheless, it should be taken into consideration that people often ascribe manifestations of social phobia to other psychological illnesses, and the validity of statistical data may sometimes be questioned.

Probably, it would be better for us to discuss, the research, which is aimed at studying this particular illness. For example, in his article “Social Phobia: epidemiology, recognition and treatment” J A den Boer argues that the danger of this disease is often underestimated. Moreover, the scholar believes that morbid events are often underreported, because their symptoms may easily be confused with those of other mental disorders(Boer, 2000). For instance, the author believes that parents fail to help their children because they are firmly convinced that crying and tantrums are an inseparable part of their behavior, while it may spring directly from social phobia.

In this article, the author also analyzes various treatment modes, namely, he compares various pharmacological and psychiatric approaches. In this opinion, the preference should be given to the so-called cognitive therapy. In addition to that J A den Boer believes that various psychotropic agents may only alleviate the symptoms of disease but not its underlying causes such as distorted perception of reality. It is also stated that behavioral therapy may be extremely beneficial. A person, suffering from phobia believes that he or she lacks social support and therefore cannot interact with other people efficiently. Behavioral therapy is supposed to help such individuals develop more natural relationships with others and eventually eradicate the social phobia, itself.

Thus, we can conclude that social phobia may be one of the most widespread mental disorders. Although statistical data suggests that there are more prevalent psychological, it should be mentioned that the symptoms of social anxiety are often misinterpreted or even disregarded. It seems that further psychological researches are needed to identify epidemiological patterns of social phobia among various age groups.


Richard G. Heimberg (1995). Social Phobia: Diagnosis, Assessment, and Treatment. Guilford Press.

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JA den Boer (2000). Social Phobia: epidemiology, recognition and treatment. Web.

National Institute of Mental Health (1999). Epidemiology of Mental Illness. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 14). Social Phobia or Anxiety as Epidemiological Phenomenon.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Social Phobia or Anxiety as Epidemiological Phenomenon'. 14 December.

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