Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder, commonly referred to as social phobia, is when a person feels extreme fear in social interactions. This can significantly disrupt a person’s life, affecting relationships, work, daily routines and other activities.

This section provides information about social anxiety disorder. How it is diagnosed, possible causes and where to get further information and support.

Social anxiety disorder is similar to other anxiety disorders, but it specifically relates to anxiety experienced when interacting with others. People living with social anxiety disorder experience a wide range of physical, emotional and behavioural symptoms.

Social situations and interactions range from starting conversations with strangers to going to a gathering of friends. It doesn’t necessarily have to be face-to-face as some also experience intense fear speaking on the phone. It is also common for people living with social anxiety disorder to experience panic attacks.

Social anxiety disorder can be treated with therapy (such as cognitive behavioural therapy) or medication, and sometimes a combination of both.

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