Social anxiety disorder usually emerges
during childhood or early adolescence and rarely after age 25.1 It is a common condition that affects around 13% of the
general population, with about one-third of those having a single fear of
Women are more likely to
develop social anxiety disorder than men. The
condition may run in families, although it is unclear whether this is due to a
genetic disorder or to learned behavior. More than half of those with social
anxiety disorder will become disabled by intense fear of and anxiety over
numerous social situations.
How well phobia treatment will work depends partly on the severity of the phobia. Though some phobias are never completely cured, therapy can help many people learn to function effectively. Types of therapy include:
Attending phobia clinics and support groups has also helped many people overcome their fears.
In addition, medication may help some people overcome their phobia.
Therapies for Phobia
For specific phobias,...
Depression commonly occurs with social
anxiety disorder, which makes it harder to treat. Some people may use alcohol or drugs to relieve symptoms of social anxiety disorder. This may possibly lead to
substance abuse problems.
Zal HM (2003). Social phobia: Diagnostic issues.
Psychiatric Times, 20(5): 75–77.
Hollander E, Simeon D (2008). Social phobia
(Social anxiety disorder). In RE Hales et al., eds., American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry, 5th ed., pp.
536–546. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
July 11, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
July 11, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this