Social Anxiety Disorder (social phobia) is the third largest mental health care problem in the world. This disorder affects 7% of the population and the chances of developing this disorder in ones lifespan is above 13%. This disorder is equally prevalent in both males and females. Social anxiety is characterized by an intense fear of situations, usually social or performance situations, where embarrassment may occur. Individuals with the disorder are acutely aware of the physical signs of their anxiety and fear that others will notice, judge them, and think poorly of them. People with social anxiety disorder are seen by others as being shy, quiet, backward, withdrawn, inhibited, unfriendly, nervous, aloof, and disintegrated. This fear often results in extreme anxiety in anticipation of an activity altogether. Adults usually recognize that their fears are unfounded or excessive, but suffer them nonetheless. .
Some of the triggering symptoms of social anxiety are when they experience significant distress when being introduced to other people, when being teased or criticized, being the center of attention and in social situations where the person exhibits excessive self-consciousness. Also when they are being watched or observed while doing something, when they have to make a speech in a formal, public situation, and even when swallowing, writing, talking, making phone calls if in public. Some emotional symptoms may be feelings of nervousness, negative thinking cycles, racing heart, blushing, excessive sweating, dry throat and mouth, trembling, and muscle twitches. Other physical symptoms of social phobia may be palpitations, tremors, sweating, diarrhea, confusion, and blushing.
Some of the causes suspected of social anxiety may be a combination of genetic makeup, early growth development, and later life experience. Current theories are genetic disposition, etiology, development, and or chemical disturbances in the brain.