Social Anxiety Disorder, or “Social Phobia,” is when an individual feels emotional discomfort, anxiety, or fear about social situations. Individuals with “Social Phobia” will often feel that they are being judged or rejected by others. Physical sensations may accompany the phobia causing an increase in fear symptoms such as crying, blushing, sweating, or shaking. Social anxiety can create a fear of public situations like public speaking or cause an individual to avoid social events.
Social Anxiety Disorder is the third most common mental disorder, affecting upwards of 5%-12% of the general population at some point in life. Approximately 5% of children and adolescents suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder. In general, females tend to be more affected by social anxiety than males, and this gender difference is usually more pronounced in adolescents and young adults. Although the majority of social anxiety disorder cases start in adolescence, these difficulties can start as early as preschool.