Being shy is a mild form of discomfort (mainly experienced as nervousness) in social interactions, such as meeting new people or giving a presentation.
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia, Generalized), usually has an onset in mid-teens, sometimes from a childhood history of social inhibitions or shyness, is "characterized by....significant anxiety provoked by exposure to certain types of social or performance situations, often leading to avoidance behavior." Unlike shyness, which happens occasionally, Social Phobia may have a duration of a lifetime. The diagnostic criterias are:
---an almost-always, immediate anxiety response, in the form of Panic Attacks
---fear is excessive and unreasonable
---avoidance, fear, or anxious anticipation of encountering the social or performance situation interferes SIGNIFICANTLY with a person's daily routine, occupational functioning, social life, social activities or general relationships, or if the person is distressed about having the phobia
---in patients under the age of 18, symptoms must have persisted for at least 6 months
---the fear or avoidance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance or a general medical condition and is not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Panic Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, or Schizoid Personality Disorder)
---if another mental disorder or general medical condition is present (e.g., Stuttering, Parkinson's Disease, Anorexia Nervosa), the fear or avoidance is not limited to concern about its social impact
---Avoidant Personality Disorder, with similar characteristics and may be a more severe variant than Social Phobia, Generalized, seems to overlap extensively with each other.
Other characteristics include hypersensitivity to direct or indirect criticism, negative evaluation, or rejection; difficulty in being assertive; and low self-esteem or feelings of inferiority. And may be associated with other Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders, Substance-Related Disorders, and Avoidant Personality Disorder.
So far, no lab test has been found to be diagnostic of Social Phobia. There lacks sufficient evidence to support the use of any lab testing to distinguish it from other Anxiety Disorders.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-IV-TR.
· 1 decade ago