Social Phobia, also known as Social Anxiety Disorder, is a psychiatric disorder characterized by a marked and persistent fear of. Social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others. The individual fears that he or she will act in a way (or show anxiety symptoms) that will be humiliating. Or embarrassing. The exposure to the feared situation almost invariably provokes anxiety, which may take the form of a panic attack (intense. Fear. Trembling, sweating, palpitations, chest pain). Social phobia, by definition, interferes significantly with the person’s functioning.


The lifetime prevalence is approximately 2–7 %, and the estimated male to female ratio is 2:3.

Generalized (fear includes most social situations).


Like many other mental health conditions, social phobia is chronic and likely arises from a complex interaction of genes and. Environment. Circumscribed social phobia has complications only when avoidance of the phobic situation interferes with the patient’s life (e.g., a public. Speaking in a politician). Generalized social may leave patients isolated and housebound. It is not unusual for people with social phobia to abuse alcohol or sedative–hypnotic medications to cope with the symptoms or to try to escape them.


Treatment of social phobia consists of medications and psychotherapy. Benzodiazepines (e.g., alprazolam or clonazepam) are effective to reduce the anxiety symptoms; Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective approach, and it is based on the idea that your own thoughts—not other people or situations—determine how you behave or react.

Social Phobia can be disabling and debilitating. With appropriate treatment, patients affected by this condition can become confident in social situations and live normal productive lives. Like in other anxiety disorders, early diagnosis and treatment are crucial predictors of success.

Ana C Posada Diaz, MD Psychiatrist

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