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Social anxiety disorder (also called social phobia) is a long-term, overwhelming fear of social situations.

Social anxiety

Social anxiety is very distressing for sufferers as it affects their everyday activities, self-confidence, relationships and work or school life.

Understanding social anxiety

Social anxiety disorder is very common. Although most people occasionally worry about social situations, a person with social anxiety will feel fear before, during, and after the event that will not go away. People who suffer from social phobia are afraid of negative evaluation from other people (2).

How does social anxiety work?

Social anxiety

Social anxiety has been described as “the stage fright of everyday life” (8). It embodies feelings of fear, nervousness, dread, self-consciousness and uncertainty before, during and after encounters with other people. The nature of the encounter may be meaningful or extremely trivial, having a different, yet significant, underlying root cause for each individual. In some cases, the sufferer may be so overwhelmed by anxiety they are unable to function normally and will do anything to avoid (or flee from) the situation (8).

There are an infinite number of frightening situations which involve interactions with other people, (for example, being followed home by a stranger, or being sat next to an intoxicated passenger on a bus) which although undoubtedly frightening, are not examples of social anxiety. Social phobia disorder is directly linked to people’s fear of evaluation by others (8).

The defining characteristic of social anxiety is therefore that it arises from the prospect or presence of interpersonal evaluation in real or imagined social settings (8).

Many herbs are suitable for self-care. However if a health condition does not resolve with home remedies we recommend using the information in Herbal Reality along with your health advisors, especially herbal practitioners from the professional associations listed in our Resources page (‘If you want to find a herbalist”). When buying any herbal products, you should choose responsible manufacturers with independently assured quality standards and sustainability practices. Check the label carefully for the appropriate safety and sustainability information.

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