Social Anxiety Disorder and Social Phobia Essay

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A lot of individuals who have social phobia are labeled as shy rather than having a disorder. This is mostly because a lot of people don’t know or don’t understand what social phobia is. To those people it’s something that you can either “grow out of” or “get over,” but it’s not that simple. There is a lot more to social phobia than most people think and to the individual who has social phobia it can be a very detrimental disorder.

What is Social Phobia?
Social phobia is “a disorder characterized by excessive fear of being exposed to the scrutiny of other people that leads to avoidance of social situations in which the person is called on to perform” (Carlson, 2009, p. 587). In simpler terms social phobia is an avoidance or fear of
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A variation of social phobia is performance anxiety or what some people call “stage fright” and these people only fear speaking or performing in public. People who have performance anxiety have no difficulty with social interaction. It’s when they have to do something in front of people that anxiety takes over and they get worked up over the possibility of embarrassing themselves in front of others. Simple things in everyday life like eating in a restaurant, signing a piece of paper in front of a clerk, speaking up, or going to parties can provoke performance anxiety. For males with performance anxiety, urinating in a public restroom is often quite difficult. This is called “bashful bladder” or paruresis, which simply means the inability to urinate in the presence of others. When in private, people with performance anxiety have no difficulty eating, writing, or urinating.

History A leading psychopharmacologist David Hearly stated that the term “social phobia” began in the late 1960s to circulate among psychiatrists in England. He also said that the term “social phobia” had been unclaimed. Two decades later in 1980 social phobia was incorporated into the DSM-III.

Prevalence/Statistics Social phobia affects “as many as 12.1% of the general population…at some point in their lives” (Durand & Barlow, 2012, p. 143). Apart from specific phobia, this makes social phobia the most widespread anxiety disorder,

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