Top Ways of Understanding Social Phobias and Brain Response
Fear is a phobia and phobias are developed out of fear. Once you understand how the brain functions can one then understand social and other phobias. Humans have three brains and I will discuss the oldest part of the brain which is known as the reptilian brain first. The reptilian brain is the reactive brain that causes a “fight, flight or freeze” reaction. This part of the brain is responsible for physical and sexual aggression or freezing.
When a human is threatened they function from the reptilian brain “the brain stem” where the only options are flight, fight or freeze. The reptilian brain is the front gate to the neocortex and if threatened this part of the brain will shut down and block all new input in other words the reptilian brain fights and the neocortex takes flight which effectively means that the reptilian brain takes control.
The reptilian brain allows reaction or response to our five senses as the reptilian brain is purely survival driven. The reptilian brain is then surrounded by the advanced cortex system whereby ones feeling, emotions and ability to perceive and learn are initiated. The second part of the brain is the limbic brain which is also known as the emotional brain which causes social phobia or anxiety as well as depression, fear and emotional aggression and sustained anger and the desire for revenge which leads to ongoing stress.
While in the state of anxiety and stress these lower brain functions are continually able to shut down the higher brain functions being the neocortex. The limbic brain also has control over ones metabolism, blood pressure, the immune system, food, desires, thirst and sexual desires. Emotions are strong learning links with laughter being as strong if not stronger than negative emotions.
Powerful emotions such as sadness, anger, rage, social fear or any specified fear or pain is normal. These responses are time limited and do not last forever and what one is feeling is accepted. A human moves through their feelings rather quickly and having the patience to attune your pace gives you permission to be authentic. Often we react the way we think is expected of us usually “brave and strong” and overriding our true feelings and end up developing social phobias as well as being traumatized which could have been avoided.
When social phobia sets in it is common not to feel much at first as adrenaline and cortisol are released for flight, fight or freeze and also serve a natural anesthesia. Dissociation seems to be an innate mechanism that allows us to escape distressing experiences and also protects us from pain and possible death.
An individual with social phobia thought process is usually within the normal range as their thought processes are usually goal directed without preoccupation or impairment of reality and visual hallucinations are not elements of social phobia and the subject may be preoccupied with what others are thinking about them. However social isolation can lead to despair, depression and maybe even suicide.
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