Social Anxiety (Social Disorder)
The essential feature of Social Anxiety Disorder is a marked or intense fear or anxiety of social situations in which the person feels scrutinized by others. In children, the fear or anxiety must occur in peer interactions and not just during conversations with adults. People with Social Anxiety are afraid that they are being negatively scrutinized by others. People with Social Anxiety are fearful that they will act in a way that will cause others to view them negatively. Anticipating the participation in social interactions such as having a conversation, meeting unfamiliar people or being observed or performing in front of others almost invariably provokes fear or anxiety. As a result the social situations are avoided or endured with intense fear. The anxiety that is present is out of proportion to the threat posed by the situation and it is persistent. Social Anxiety can cause clinically significant distress. For example, severe anxiety in social situations can be followed by stressful or humiliating experiences such as being bullied or actually vomiting in public. There is a slightly higher rate of females to males with Social Anxiety, but the gender difference is even more prevalent in adolescence than in young adults. The average age of onset for Social Anxiety is 13 years although some children much younger have been diagnosed with it.
At Silber Psychological Services, we provide both individual therapy and social skills training for children and teens with Social Anxiety Disorder. Fortunately, Social Anxiety is highly treatable and most individuals experience significant relief with appropriate interventions.