Cure for Social Phobia: Will There Be One?

There just might be a cure on the horizon. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), normally used only for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), has shown promise for treating Social Anxiety.While I wouldn’t call it a “cure” yet, this treatment might yield the best and longest lasting results.But first, let’s start by asking this question…What is Social Phobia?Social phobia is an extremely debilitating condition where an individual has a strong, overpowering fear of people, crowds and social places (APA, 1994). If you have it, you know what I mean. It can be so bad that you will find yourself missing out on almost everything in life.People with social phobia see the world like walking through a minefield. Over time, social phobia will eventually lead to other disorders (like itself wasn’t enough) such as: depression, anxiety and even panic attacks.In the past, people have used standard therapy to treat this condition along with medication management. Prozac, Xanax, and the like are often prescribed for this condition. While medications help minimize the symptoms, they seldom work in the long run without some form of counseling.So What Causes Social Phobia?This condition usually occurs as a result of some type of childhood trauma, but it can also be hereditary. Some individuals are naturally timid because they have an oversensitive nervous system. But most people develop this condition as a result of recurring traumatic experiences that involve ridicule and humiliation, either by peers or by an autocratic figure.Tell Me More…People with this condition need plenty of support and understanding. Again, it is difficult to establish trust with people if they have been extremely judgmental or have hurt their self esteem in other ways.While one can say that this condition involves irrational fears, one thing is for sure: there are people who will try to bring you down or hurt you, especially if they know that you are emotionally vulnerable. There aren’t a lot of these individuals, but they do exist and unfortunately, they will destroy your self-esteem so they can enhance their own.Social phobia is your body’s way of protecting you from these people or anyone who might criticize or ridicule you. It is basically an over protective defense mechanism engineered by your mind.Back to EMDR Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of therapy that has been used almost exclusively to treat individuals with PTSD such as those exposed directly to military combat or victims of abuse or trauma (e.g., rape).EMDR was first discovered back in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro, a clinical psychologist in the state of California. She noticed that particular eye movements appeared to reduce the influence of distressing memories.After several scientific studies, EMDR is now regarded as the most effective therapy for treating PTSD.EMDR therapy uses right-left eye stimulation, as well as touch stimulation, which engages the parts of the brain involved in the trauma. This method helps the brain and the body process the trauma more efficiently and allows the mind to heal.Given that many people with social anxiety have been victims of some form of mental or physical abuse, EMDR should be an effective treatment. As mentioned earlier, recent studies have shown promising results that EMDR might be another powerful weapon in the treatment, and possible cure, of social phobia.Social-Phobia: Clinical TrialsIf you want to find more information about the latest studies regarding social phobia, or if you’d like to volunteer for a study, follow the link below and type “social phobia” in the keyword search.http://www.clinicaltrials.govFinal NoteEMDR definitely is showing promise for the treatment of this debilitating condition (EMDR, 2011).While EMDR is a powerful tool, results will be far greater if used in combination with other forms of therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).In the end, you might find that whatever treatment you chose, you are and will always be the captain of your ship. Your boat might not be shaped like others, and it might take a few hits, but since you’ve read this article, then you are on your way, sailing towards a full recovery.Never give up!ReferencesAmerican Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.EMDR Institute (2011). Retrieved from:

Comments are closed.