Are You a Social Phobic?
Social phobics account for over 13% of the population, so the debilitating
anxiety that people suffering from social phobia experience is not an
uncommon phenomenon. But how do you know if you really do have the condition?
The following is a list of criteria required for a diagnosis of social
- A strong and persistent fear in social situations of being exposed
to unfamiliar people or to possible judgment by others. The individual
feels that they will act in such a way as to bringing ridicule on
themselves and be humiliated or embarrassed. In children, this behavior
must be exhibited with their peer group, not just in interactions
- Exposure to the feared social situation almost always provokes extreme
anxiety, including panic attacks. In children, the anxiety may take
the form of crying, tantrums, freezing, or shrinking from social interaction
- The sufferer recognizes that the level of fear they are experiencing
is beyond what the general population experiences. In children this
knowledge may be absent.
- The feared social situation is avoided altogether, or endured with
intense anxiety and distress.
- The avoidance and/or distress experienced in social situations is
sufficient to impact on social interaction, relationships, and job
- The fear or avoidance is not due to the effect of a drug, legal
or otherwise, or better accounted for by other disorders such as panic
disorder, separation anxiety disorder, a developmental disorder (such
as autism or Asperger’s disorder), or body dysmorphic disorder.
- The fear in the social situation is not associated with physical
conditions such as fear of stuttering, Parkinson’s disease,
or a fear of exposing unusual eating behaviors, such as anorexia or
bulimia nervosa, in public.
Social phobia can occur to varying degrees from almost complete social
isolation to living a limited life due to the crippling anxiety associated
with this condition. Finding support in the form of understanding and
helpful friends, and seeking treatment from a therapist who specializes
in social phobia and other anxiety conditions, can help to alleviate
much of the pain of this not uncommon, yet disabling, disorder.
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