Social Anxiety Disorder ​​(Social Phobia)

Individauals with Social Anxiety Disorder experience significant discomfort in social interactions and have great concern about being embarrassed and judged by others.  This social discomfort is experienced as fear and anxiety, and the person typically has physiological symptoms of anxiety.  Sufferers often avoid social contact and social situations, which can lead to isolation, dissatisfaction with relationships and difficulty engaging in typical life events. .
Diagnostic Criteria

*Fear or anxiety specific to social  settings in which a person feels noticed, observed, or scrutinized

*Typically the individual will fear that they will display their anxiety and experience social rejection

*Social interactions will consistently provoke distress

*Social interactions are either avoided or painfully endured

*The fear or anxiety are grossly disproportionate to the social situation

*The symptoms persist for 6 months or longer

*The symptoms cause personal distress and impairment of functioning in one or more domain, such as occupational or interpersonal 
Symptoms

Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder can include:

*Fear of situations in which you might be judged

*Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself

*Concern that you'll offend someone

*Fear that others will notice that you look anxious

*Avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment

*Spending time after a social situation analyzing your performance and identifying flaws in your interactions

​*Expecting the worst possible consequences from a negative experience during a social situation 


Treatment

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):  CBT which focuses on graduated exposure to the anxiety provoking social situations can help reduce the symptoms of social anxiety.  Patients also learn to restructure their cognitions to better fit the realities of the social situations rather than the unlikely alarming thoughts which they typically have.