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Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, is a type of anxiety disorder where an individual experiences intense fear of social situations. This fear typically stems from concerns about being judged negatively, embarrassed, or rejected in social or performance situations. People with social anxiety often feel overly anxious about being with other people and are very self-conscious in everyday social situations. This can make it hard to meet new people, maintain relationships, and can interfere with work or school.

Key characteristics of social anxiety disorder include:

  • Intense fear of situations in which one may be judged or scrutinized by others.
  • Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating oneself.
  • Concern that others will notice that they are anxious.
  • Avoidance of social situations to a degree that limits one’s ability to function in daily life.
  • Physical symptoms during social situations such as blushing, sweating, trembling, or having a rapid heart rate.

Treatment for social anxiety disorder typically involves psychotherapy, with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) being particularly effective. CBT helps individuals understand and change the thought patterns that contribute to their fears. In some cases, medication may also be prescribed to help alleviate the symptoms.

For those struggling with social anxiety, engaging in gradually increased exposure to social situations, along with structured therapy, can significantly reduce the intensity of the anxiety felt and improve overall functioning.


  1. “Social anxiety in young people: A prevalence study in seven countries” – This study explores the prevalence of social anxiety across diverse cultures, providing valuable insights into demographic patterns and symptoms associated with social anxiety. You can read it on PLOS ONE: Read the study on PLOS ONE
  2. “Social anxiety increases visible anxiety signs during social encounters but does not impair performance” – This research examines the impact of visible signs of anxiety and their correlation with performance in social settings, found on BMC Psychology: Access the full text on BMC Psychology
  3. “Cognitive Neural Mechanism of Social Anxiety Disorder: A Meta-Analysis Based on fMRI Studies” – This meta-analysis provides an overview of the neural mechanisms underlying social anxiety through fMRI studies, available on MDPI: Read the article on
  4. “Prevalence of social anxiety disorder and symptoms among Chinese children, adolescents and young adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis” – This systematic review focuses on the prevalence and implications of social anxiety among young people in China. It is published by Frontiers in Psychology: View the systematic review on
  5. “Social anxiety disorder and its associated factors: a cross-sectional study among medical students, Saudi Arabia” – This study investigates the factors associated with social anxiety among medical students in Saudi Arabia, published on BMC Psychiatry: Read the study on BMC Psychiatry
  6. “The cross-national epidemiology of social anxiety disorder: Data from the World Mental Health Survey Initiative” – This extensive study offers a global perspective on the epidemiology of social anxiety, including demographic factors and treatment statistics, found on BMC Medicine: Access the research on BMC Medicine