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Diseases and Conditions
The condition called social phobia, or social anxiety, is a mental health disorder that is characterized by overwhelming anxiety. Social phobia patients may also experience excessive levels of self-consciousness in common social environments. Patients who have social phobia often describe intense and persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. They may also report feeling humiliated or embarrassed by their actions and behavior. This fear can be so profound that it can cause interference with normal daily activities.
Social phobia or social anxiety disorder typically begins in childhood or early adolescence. It does not usually develop past the mid-twenties. Almost four percent of people in the United States ages 18 to 54 has social phobia in any given year. It occurs in women twice as often as in men. Interestingly, a higher proportion of men than women seek help for social phobia.
Sometimes social phobia can be confined to just a single type of situation like fear of public speaking or eating/drinking in front of other people. In some cases, people with social phobia may experience anxiety-related symptoms whenever they are around other people. Social phobia can be extremely debilitating and it can even cause so much anxiety that it keeps people from going to school or work. People suffering from social phobia often have a difficult time finding new friends because of their intense fear of social situations.
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