A lot of individuals who have social phobia are labeled as shy rather than having a disorder. This is mostly because a lot of people don’t know or don’t understand what social phobia is. To those people it’s something that you can either “grow out of” or “get over,” but it’s not that simple. There is a lot more to social phobia than most people think and to the individual who has social phobia it can be a very detrimental disorder.
What is Social Phobia?
Social phobia is “a disorder characterized by excessive fear of being exposed to the scrutiny of other people that leads to avoidance of social situations in which the person is called on to perform” (Carlson, 2009, p. 587). In simpler terms social phobia is an avoidance or fear of situations in which the person might humiliate or embarrass themselves in front of others and appear incompetent or foolish. If the situation cannot be avoided the person becomes extremely anxious and the anxiety symptoms impair the normal functioning of the person.
For someone to be diagnosed with social phobia they must meet the criteria within the DSM-IV-TR. According to the DSM-IV-TR there are many different features of social phobia. They are (1) “marked and persistent fear of one or more social performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others, with the fear that one will be embarrassed or humiliated,” (2) “exposure to the feared social situation almost invariably provokes anxiety, sometimes as a panic attack,” (3) “recognition that the fear is excessive or unreasonable,” (4) “the feared social or performance situation is avoided or are endured with intense anxiety or distress,” and (5) “the avoidance, anxious, anticipation, or di...
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Xu, Y., Schneier, F., Jeimberg, R. G., Princisvalle, K., Liebowitz, M. R., Wang, S., & Blanco, C. (2012). Gender differences in social anxiety disorder: Results from the national epidemiologic sample on alcohol and related conditions. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 26(1), 12-19. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.pitt.idm.oclc.org/science/article/pii/S0887618511001411
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