Social anxiety disorder is characterized by a persistent fear of any kind of social interactions and the feeling of intense embarrassment or humiliation, apparently without reason. The patients of this disorder are always anxious of being judged poorly by others and as a result start avoiding social interaction completely. Whenever such people face any situation where interaction with others cannot be avoided, they suffer extreme anxiety and nervousness. In chronic cases such people start showing extreme symptoms even when they anticipate a social situation. This anxiety is manifested in external physical symptoms such as palpitations, sweating, trembling, flushing or blushing.
Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate the normal social anxiety that every individual feels to some extent from this chronic condition. Everyone has some degree of social anxiety in them, yet when such anxiety becomes so overriding that the person starts avoiding all social interactions as a result of his anxiety and the physical symptoms cause him distress beyond natural parameters, it is clear that it is a result of this disorder. Most often, close family members or friends can recognize this, since they have a better perspective of the patient’s suffering.
Social anxiety disorder can be classified into three different types. First is a performance-oriented social anxiety disorder that affects a person only when he is performing in front of an audience, as when giving public speeches, or presentations.
The second type of this disorder is a general social anxiety disorder where a person is unnaturally anxious in various social situations like parties, meetings and interviews.
The third and most chronic type is avoidant personality disorder, which is more common in males than females and starts usually at a very young age. Such people are able to make very few friends and often opt not to get married. These people avoid all opportunities for social interactions and live with a constant fear of being ridiculed and judged by all around them.
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