Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, affects approximately 15 million Americans. It is characterized by an intense fear of being rejected or thought of negatively in a social situation. It can cause extreme anxiety, feeling self-conscious and a sense of being embarrassed in daily social interactions.

Social anxiety most commonly starts in the teenage years and continues into adulthood. Less than five percent of people who experience social anxiety seek treatment within the first year after onset, and over a third of the people with this condition seek treatment after 10 years of experiencing it.

Some signs and symptoms of social anxiety include:

  • Fear of interacting with strangers
  • Avoidance of speaking in public
  • Anxiety of being in unfamiliar places
  • Blushing
  • Dizziness
  • Trembling
  • Upset stomach
  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Avoidance of school
  • Inability to us a public restroom
  • Inability to eat in public

Some of the factors that can cause social anxiety include:

  • Having family members with this disorder
  • Having had negative experiences such as childhood abuse, bullying, or public humiliation
  • Being shy or timid
  • Meeting new people
  • Having a physical appearance that draws unwanted attention

Social anxiety, if not identified and treated early, can lead to low self-esteem, substance abuse, depression, a lack of social skills, isolation from others, and even thoughts of suicide.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has social anxiety disorder, it is suggested that speaking with a physician or a therapist can be helpful. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.