Social Phobia

By Kush G.

What is Social Phobia?

Social phobia is an anxiety problem that causes a person to feel uncomfortable participating in everyday social situations and develop extreme feelings of shyness and self-consciousness in front of others.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of social phobia include when a person is:

  • self-conscious
  • uncomfortable when communicating
  • sensitive to being embarrassed, looking foolish, and making mistakes
  • avoiding eye contact
  • avoiding communication with others
  • nervous when answering questions
  • not socializing in general

How Does Social Phobia Affect Someone's Life?

Social phobia can have a huge effect on a person's life. It can prevent them from talking to friends, going to parties, or asking someone to go on a date. Because of this, they may later feel lonely or disappointed over these missed opportunities for having fun. It can also stop them from asking questions, giving presentations, or giving answers in class, so they won't get the most out of school. This can cause them difficulty in school and possibly in their future career. Additionally, social phobia may keep someone from auditioning for plays, participating for talent shows, or joining a team. This can cause the person to miss important chances to share their talents and learn new skills, which is important in life.

Other Names/Forms

Other known names for and types of social phobia include Social Anxiety Disorder and Selective Mutism.

How is Social Phobia Diagnosed?

Therapists, friends, and family can notice that a person has social phobia. Also, the signs and symptoms can show that a person may have social phobia.

How is Social Phobia Treated?

Social phobia is difficult to deal with, but there are ways to treat and cope with it. Therapists can help people recognize the physical sensations caused by social phobia and teach them to interpret these situations more accurately. They can help people to prepare for social situations and help them build confidence. Family and friends are also very important in treating social phobia. The people close to a patient can convince them to try new things and encourage them. They can help patients set small goals and congratulate and support them along the way. This helps to build confidence for patients to go outside of their comfort zones and to help them get over their fear.

Interesting Facts

  • About 3.7 percent of people in the U.S. from ages 18 to 54, which is approximately 5.3 million Americans, have social phobia in any given year
  • Social phobia occurs in women twice as often as in men, but more men seek help for it
  • It usually begins in childhood or early adulthood and rarely develops after age 25
  • It is the most common anxiety disorder