Often referred to as social phobia, social anxiety disorder is when a person is overcome with fear and worry in social settings. Negatively inhibiting everyday routines, social anxiety affects about 15 million Americans, with the typical age of onset being 13 years old.
What Is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety disorder is an intense feeling of anxiety when forced to socialize with other people. The person experiences an intense anxiety that leads to deep feelings of embarrassment. Fearful of being judged by others, a person who has this social phobia often withdraws into a shell of isolation and avoidance behaviors. Social anxiety can be paralyzing for teenagers in school and at family gatherings.
Social anxiety disorder treatment is recommended if symptoms persist for more than six months. Social anxiety symptoms also include the fear of being humiliated or rejected and a sense of dread or doom about impending social situations. Subsequent difficulties caused by social anxiety symptoms arise in school, at work, and in personal relationships.
Additional social anxiety symptoms include feeling nauseous, sweating, nervous shaking, and unexpected blushing. A social anxiety subgroup of people fears having to talk or perform in front of a group. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help in overcoming social anxiety disorder.
Sources: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, The Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety