Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder)
Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by an unhealthy heightened self-awareness in social situations. People with Social Anxiety Disorder experience high levels of stress in every day group environments. The National Institute of Mental Health has a wealth of information on Social Anxiety Disorder. The following article provides a definition of the disorder, identification signs and symptoms and typical treatments for this disorder:
“In any social situation, I felt fear. I would be anxious before I even left the house, and it would escalate as I got closer to a college class, a party, or whatever. I would feel sick at my stomach- it almost felt like I had the flu. My heart would pound, my palms would get sweaty, and I would get this feeling of being removed from myself and from everybody else.
“When I would walk into a room full of people, I’d turn red and it would feel like everybody’s eyes were on me. I was embarrassed to stand off in a corner by myself, but I couldn’t think of anything to say to anybody. It was humiliating. I felt so clumsy, I couldn’t wait to get out.
“I couldn’t go on dates, and for a while I couldn’t even go to class. My sophomore year of college I had to come home for a semester. I felt like such a failure.”
“Social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, involves overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. People with social phobia have a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and being embarrassed or humiliated by their own actions. Their fear may be so severe that it interferes with work or school, and other ordinary activities. While many people with social phobia recognize that their fear of being around people may be excessive or unreasonable, they are unable to overcome it. They often worry for days or weeks in advance of a dreaded situation.”