Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder, is diagnosed when people become overwhelmingly anxious and excessively self-conscious in everyday social situations.

People with social phobia have an intense, persistent, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of doing things that will embarrass them. They can worry for days or weeks before a dreaded situation. This fear may become so severe that it interferes with work, school, and other ordinary activities, and can make it hard to make and keep friends. Some individuals understand that their fear is unreasonable, but are still immobilized by the fear.

Social anxiety may occur in only one type of situation such as public speaking, or eating, drinking, in front of others. It can also occur across multiple situations in which individuals experience anxiety any time they are around others. Social phobia can be very debilitating-it may even keep people from going to work or school on some days. Many people with this illness have a hard time making and keeping friends.

Physical symptoms often accompany the intense anxiety of social phobia and include blushing, profuse sweating, trembling, nausea, and difficulty talking. Many of these symptoms cause the anxiety to increase because individuals will feel as if every eye in the room is focused on them.

Social anxiety affects about 15 million adult Americans. Women and men are equally likely to develop social anxiety, which usually begins in childhood or early adolescence. It is not uncommon for individuals with social anxiety to also experience depression, or substance abuse issues.