Social Anxiety Disorder

(Social Phobia)

Definition

Social anxiety disorder is the intense fear of social situations. People with social anxiety disorder:
  • Avoid interactions with other people
  • Are extremely afraid of being judged negatively by others
  • Feel humiliated, embarrassed, and inadequate more easily than others
Social anxiety may be:
  • Generalized to all social interactions
  • Specific to certain social situations, such as public speaking
Social anxiety disorder is much more severe than shyness. It can interfere with work, school, or other situations, as well as cause physical symptoms.
Physical Reactions of Anxiety
Physical reaction anxiety
© 2011 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

The exact cause is unknown. Possible causes include:
  • Genetic factors
  • Problems with the regulation of chemicals in the brain
  • Past emotional trauma in social situations

Risk Factors

Social anxiety disorder is most common in adolescence and early adulthood. It is almost twice as common in women than in men. Other factors that may increase your chance of social anxiety disorder include:

Symptoms

Symptoms may begin in any public situation such as:
  • Being teased or criticized
  • Being the center of attention
  • Meeting new people
  • Interacting with authority figures
  • Interacting with members of the opposite sex
  • Eating, writing, or speaking in public
  • Using public toilets
Symptoms during these social interactions may include:
  • Blushing
  • Excessive sweating
  • Trembling
  • Dry throat and mouth
  • Muscle twitches
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Lightheadness

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