Social anxiety (also known as social phobia) is a fear of social or performance situations, such as public speaking, social gatherings, meeting new people, eating in public, using public toilets, disagreeing with others, and speaking to authority figures.
Individuals with social anxiety fear they will say or do something in these situations that will lead to embarrassment or humiliation, or that their symptoms of anxiety will be noticed by others who will then judge them negatively. Typically, patients either avoid social situations altogether or endure them with extreme distress.
How may social anxiety affect your life?
Social anxiety can seriously affect a sufferer’s academic, occupational and social functioning. Research shows that in the US more than 50% of people with social anxiety fail to complete high school, while 70% are in the lowest two quartiles of socio-economic status, and over 20% are on welfare. More than 50% of sufferers are single, divorced or separated. By contrast, the prognosis of treatment with cognitive-behavioral therapy is excellent, with an average of 80% of patients improving through treatment.