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What is social anxiety disorder?

November 21, 2011

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) or social phobia is characterised by intense and persistent fear about being in one or more social situations. This often includes anxiety and apprehension about future or upcoming social events. SAD may be divided broadly into two subtypes: specific SAD and generalised SAD. The specific subtype is mainly limited to a one or a few social situations. The generalised SAD subtype concerns a broader range of social situations, as well as more chronic fear of being judged by others and of being embarrassed  or humiliated by one’s own actions.

The fear experienced during or leading up to social situations is often thought and felt to be excessive or unreasonable. The physical symptoms that are most common in SAD can include: panic attacks (heart palpitations, feeling dizzy or faint, hyperventilation, heat or cold, trembling and shaking), blushing, stammering, stuttering, rapid speech, difficulty concentrating and mind-going-blank.

SAD generally beggins between the ages of 10 and 13, but recent research is beginning to reveal that it may beginn much earlier and SAD sometimes can also start much later in life.

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