You may have heard of the terms “generalized social phobia” and “unspecified social phobia.” Although they share some similar effects, they are different. It helps to learn the difference between generalized vs unspecified social phobia. Both are anxiety disorders and are commonly called social anxiety. According to the Mayo Clinic, an unspecified anxiety disorder is one that does not fit all the diagnostic criteria of a specific anxiety disorder. Generalized anxiety and generalized social phobias are disorders that typically fit diagnostic criteria.

What Do Generalized and Unspecified Social Phobias Look Like?

If you have a social phobia, you may experience some of these symptoms when you are in social situations or are preparing for them:

  • Sweating or a feeling of a racing heart.
  • Feeling an unrealistic sense of doom or danger.
  • Feeling tired, weak or shaky.
  • Having difficulty concentrating.
  • Feeling like it is hard to breathe.

To be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, or SAD, there are specific requirements. For example, the stress responses to social situations must be severe enough that they interfere with daily life or prevent you from doing what you need to do. Also, the symptoms must be consistent across different social situations, and there must be a history of them that spans at least six months. There are other criteria as well. A trained psychologist knows how to properly identify the signs of SAD or an unspecified social phobia.

How Social Phobias Develop

There are several causes of social phobias. Some people may develop a phobia for more than one reason. These are some possible causes:

  • Learned behavior from a parent or other figure.
  • Improper fear response regulation in the brain.
  • Exposure to a negative environment.

Although experts cannot explain the possible genetic connection versus learned behavior, many people whose parents have a social anxiety disorder also develop one.

How Social Phobia Counselling and Treatments Help

The distress or trauma that people experience from social situations when they have a social phobia is very real. Stress can interfere with sleep, work obligations, social commitments and more. Counseling and multiple therapy approaches can help treat the symptoms of social anxiety and may help people learn how to overcome their social phobias. Some people benefit from simulations of social situations. Also, there are medications that people who suffer from continual anxiety symptoms can take to help alleviate mental discomfort.

Having a trusted advocate to talk to can help, and Dr. Piper Walsh is glad to be that person. She has helped many people learn how to identify the causes of their social phobias. After they learn the causes, she helps them develop strategies for coping and overcoming their fears. Also, she can recommend other social phobia treatments. If you are ready to work toward overcoming your fears, please contact South OC Counseling. Dr. Walsh will be happy to assist you in working toward your goals and explain more about generalized vs unspecified social phobia disorders.

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