Social phobia is a condition that results in excessive fear of being embarrassed or humiliated in social situations. It may cause worries about being scrutinised by others during social situations.
It can cause both psychological symptoms such as intense anxiety and avoidance of social situations, as well as physiological symptoms such as tachycardia and excessive perspiration. There may also be associated panic attacks.
The age of onset is typically in early adulthood, but can persist into the adult age range. There may be a significant impairment in social functioning, resulting in isolation and low mood.
Successful management and resolution of symptoms is possible. The main approach to treatment include psychological interventions, such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). Pharmacological interventions with antidepressants such as SSRIs may also be helpful. Short term treatment with anxiolytics drugs may help to relieve severe anxiety and distress caused by social phobia.
A thorough evaluation is essential for diagnosis and to rule out other mental disorders. Earlier treatment improves overall morbidity and prognosis.