Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Mood and Anxiety Disorders Treatment & Research Program

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Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder, also known as Social Phobia, is the feeling of apprehension when in social environments, performing or speaking in front of people. A phobia is an irrational fear. Although those who suffer from Social Phobia recognize that their fears are irrational, they are incapable of controlling it.

Symptoms most commonly occur when the individual must deal with situations such as those listed above. Symptoms include:

  • Palpitations
  • Increased heart rate
  • Feeling of losing control or "going crazy"
  • Tremors
  • Blushing
  • Sweating

There are treatments available for people who suffer from Social Phobia. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) focuses on the restructuring of how one deals with feared situations. In addition to social intervention and therapy methods, there are online aids and medications readily available, such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and other psychiatric medicines commonly used for anxiety disorders.


Cited from Diagnostics and Statistical manual of Disorders 4th edition (DSM-IV-TR)


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