Editorial Staff and Contributors
Social anxiety disorder is the intense fear of social situations.
People with social anxiety disorder:
Social anxiety may be:
Social anxiety disorder is much more severe than shyness. It can interfere with work, school, or other situations, as well as cause physical symptoms.
The exact cause is unknown. Possible causes include:
Social anxiety disorder is most common in adolescence and early adulthood. Factors that increase your chance for social anxiety disorder include:
Symptoms may begin in any public situation such as:
Symptoms during these social interactions may include:
You will be asked about your fears and symptoms. A physical exam may be done. You may be referred to a mental health specialist. A psychiatric evaluation may be done.
Treatments may include:
cognitive-behavioral therapy, the therapist may:
may also be part of your treatment.
The following medications may be used to help control symptoms:
Other medications may include:
There are no guidelines for preventing social anxiety disorder. But early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications, such as:
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Social Anxiety Association
Canadian Psychiatric Association
Canadian Psychological Association
Antidepressant use in children, adolescents, and adults. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at:
Updated August 12, 2010. Accessed November 11, 2014.
Social anxiety disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 29, 2014. Accessed November 11, 2014.
Last reviewed December 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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