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Labels and Symptoms of Social Phobia

Labels and Symptoms of Social Phobia

Because people with social phobia are easily embarrassed
and insecure in social interactions, they are commonly
labeled as being “shy,” “timid,” “uptight,” and even “rude,”
and “aloof.” These perceptions tend to exacerbate the
situation for the social phobic, increasing the already intense
anxiety of the situation by adding to it the nearly self-fulfilling
anticipation of negative judgment by others. Unfortunately,
these labels also complicate the diagnostic process by
confusing a potentially treatable disorder with the
expectation that such behaviour is the result of innate and
simple personality traits. What distinguishes social anxiety
from the common but occasional fear of embarrassment is
the chronic nature of the disorder. Certain social situations

(specific phobia) or nearly all social situations (generalized
anxiety) are persistently accompanied by feelings of dread,
worthlessness, negative thoughts, increased heart rate, weak
knees, twitching muscles, blushing, trembling limbs, dry
mouth, and/or constant anxiety. These physical and
emotional symptoms are also usually understood by the
person with social anxiety as being irrational in nature, but
impossible to avoid.


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