The support, encouragement and understanding of family and friends helps the recovery of a social phobia sufferer immeasurably. You may wish to follow the guidelines listed below if you would like to help a friend or relative who may be suffering from social phobia:
- Learn more about the disorder.
- Acknowledge that there is a real problem - Social Phobia is not merely a severe form of shyness, but a medical condition that should be taken seriously.
- Be understanding: Recognise that allowing a sufferer to explain their problems will help him or her to feel less isolated and ashamed of their condition.
- Do not regard Social Phobia as the fault of any particular person. Neither you nor the sufferer are to blame for the condition.
- Gently encourage the sufferer to seek professional help. Acknowledge that this may be a difficult decision, keeping in mind that the very nature of Social Phobia often means that sufferers are afraid to seek help from strangers.
- Once treatment is initiated, encourage the sufferer to persist and continue with treatment. Recognise and show your appreciation for any improvement, no matter how small.
- As treatment begins to take effect, the sufferer will be encouraged to begin facing up to fearful situations and locations. Your support and understanding in this regard is vital.
- While at home, sufferers should he encouraged to maintain as normal a lifestyle as possible. Do not adapt your lifestyle to fit in with their fears and anxieties.
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Myths and facts about social phobia