persistent irrational fear of situations in which the person may be
closely watched and judged by others, as in public speaking, eating,
or using public facilities.
The patient strongly, repeatedly fears at least one social or performance
situation that involves facing strangers or being watched by others.
The patient specifically fears showing anxiety symptoms or behaving
in some other way that will be embarrassing or humiliating.
stimulus almost always causes anxiety, which may be a cued or situationally
predisposed panic attack.
The patient realizes that this fear is unreasonable or out of proportion.
The patient either avoids the situation or endures it with severe distress
Either there is marked distress about having the phobia or it markedly
interferes with the patient's usual routines or social, job or personal
Under the age of 18, and have the symptoms for 6 months or longer.
The symptoms are not better explained by a different mental disorder,
Disorders, Dysmorphic Disorder,
Developmental Disorder or Schizoid
The symptoms are not directly caused by a general medical condition
or by substance use, including medications and drugs of abuse.
If the patient
has another mental disorder or a general medical condition, the phobia
is not related to it.
Specify whether Generalized. The patient fears most social situations.
have similar or even the same symptom. The clinician, therefore, in
his diagnostic attempt, has to differentiate against the following
disorders which he needs to rule out to establish a precise diagnosis.
phobias are characterized by fear and avoidance of situations in which
a person may be subject to the scrutiny of others. The fear may be complicated
by a lack of social skills due to lack of practice or to a high level
of anxiety. Everyday activities may generate anxiety, and the fears
may be specific, such as using lifts, public restrooms or eating in
public. The onset may occur in adolescence and be associated with parental
over protectiveness or limited social opportunity. Males and females
are affected equally with this disorder.
goal of treatment is to help the person function effectively. The success
of the treatment usually depends upon the severity of the phobia.
and Psychotherapy [ See
Therapy Section ]:
Systematic desensitization is the preferred behavioral technique used
to treat phobias. It based upon having the person relax, then imagine
the components of the phobia, working from the least fearful to the
most fearful. Gradual exposure to real life phobias has also been used
with success to help people overcome their fears.
Social skills training may involve social contact in a group therapy
situation to practice social skills. Role playing and modeling are techniques
used to help the person gain comfort in relating to others in a social
and antidepressive medications are sometimes used to help relieve the
symptoms associated with phobias. Dependency on the medication is a
possible side effect of this treatment.