Social Phobia: also known as the social anxiety disorder, it describes people who 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.
The critical element of the fearfulness is the possibility of embarrassment or ridicule. Like specific phobias, the fear is recognized by adults as excessive or unreasonable, but the dreaded social situation is avoided, or is tolerated with great discomfort.
Many people with social phobia are preoccupied with concerns that others will see their anxiety symptoms (i.e., trembling, sweating, or blushing); or notice their halting or rapid speech; or judge them to be weak, stupid, or “crazy.”
Fears of fainting, losing control of bowel or bladder function, or having one’s mind going blank are also not uncommon. Social phobias generally are associated with significant anticipatory anxiety for days or weeks before the dreaded event, which in turn may further handicap performance and heighten embarrassment.
Social phobia typically begins in childhood or adolescence and, for many, it is associated with the traits of shyness and social inhibition. A public humiliation, severe embarrassment, or other stressful experience may provoke an intensification of difficulties. Once the disorder is established, complete remissions are uncommon without treatment. More commonly, the severity of symptoms and impairments tends to fluctuate in relation to vocational demands and the stability of social relationships. More to come
Klaas Tuinman Dawn Cove Abbey Deerfield, (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia, Canada - 2008 rev: 2017