Social Anxiety

Social anxiety disorder is a persistent, unrealistic, and intense fear about social situations that might involve scrutiny by others or meeting unfamiliar people. The feeling or thought that others will negatively evaluate them is the major trigger, so they avoid or endure intense anxiety. The problems interfere with their normal activities, such as speaking to people or performing in front of people, eating in public, using public washrooms, or engaging in any virtual activities. They prefer to work in jobs that have limited social demands. They experience symptoms for longer periods of their lives. -Marked anxiety about one or more social situations in which the individual is exposed to possible scrutiny by others. Examples include social interactions (e.g., having a conversation, meeting unfamiliar people), being observed (e.g., eating or drinking), and performing in front of others (e.g., giving a speech). Note: In children, the anxiety must occur in peer settings and not just during interactions with adults.
The individual fears that he or she will act in a way or show anxiety symptoms that will be negatively evaluated (i.e., will be humiliating or embarrassing; will lead to rejection or offend others).

  • The social situations almost always provoke fear or anxiety.
    Note: In children, the fear or anxiety may be expressed by crying, tantrums, freezing, clinging, shrinking, or failing to speak in social situations.
  • The fear or anxiety is out of proportion to the actual threat posed by the social situation and to the sociocultural context.
  • The fear, anxiety, or avoidance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  • The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is persistent, typically lasting for 6 months or more.
  • Social anxiety disorder is not attributed to physiological effect of substance abuse, medical condition, or other mental health disorder.

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