Damon G. LaBarbera, PhD

Social Anxiety

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Social Anxiety services offered in Panama City Beach, FL, Rockville Centre, NY and Union City, NJ

Social anxiety includes public speaking fears, anxiety about being in a conspicuous spot in a room, worry about eating in front of others, and fears about a plethora of other social situations. It used to be seen as a milder for of anxiety, but in today's world, if you are anxious in public situations, are unable to ask or answer a question in class, or avoid situations where you are displayed in front of others, it can be a real career killer.  If you dread group social interactions, contact experienced psychologist Damon G. LaBarbera, PhD, at Rockville Centre, New York. Dr. LaBarbera also offers telehealth services from Rockville Centre and Union City, New Jersey. Contact the office by phone or online for an appointment to work on reducing those social fears that limit your freedom and make everyday social interactions difficult.

Social Anxiety Q & A

What is social anxiety disorder?

Social anxiety symptoms are of several types. A frequent fear is that others will notice their anxiety symptoms, such as shaking or blushing. Less visible signs of your distress include:

  • Entering a full room after others
  • Giving an oral report in class
  • Using a public restroom
  • Starting conversations
  • Having to participate in a class discussion 
  • Asking questions in a lecture or meeting 
  • Eating in public

More severe problems may be school dropout, refusal; to leave home or go to school, home,  refusing to sit in a room with many other people, and avoiding careers where social interaction is required despite excellent abilities.

What symptoms does social anxiety disorder cause?

Social anxiety symptoms arise when  individuals feel they will be the center of attention or where they may be judged negativel. A frequent fear is that others will notice their anxiety symptoms such as shaking or blushing. Less visible symptoms might be:

  • Faster heartbeat
  • Muscle tension
  • Trembling
  • A shaky voice and “rubbery legs”
  • Fear that others will see you shake or blush 
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty catching your breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Anxiety about fainting in front of other people

To avoid social anxiety, a person may isolate, avoid public situations, only shop during off hours, and change their life goals to prevent problems that may require public speaking or group activities. Isolation can lead to reduced opportunities for advancement, fewer social or business contacts, and developing apathy about social life.

How is social anxiety disorder treated?

Depending on the person, there may be various treatments.

Dr. LaBarbera provides cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a particularly effective treatment for social anxiety disorder. He teaches you to identify and challenge negative thoughts and develop coping and social skills to improve confidence.

Exposure-based CBT involves slowly preparing to face your most feared experiences. Skills training, role-playing, and practicing exposure to social situations gradually enable you to overcome your anxiety.

Call Damon G. LaBarbera, PhD, today or book an appointment online if you need help overcoming social anxiety disorder.