Skip to content

Teen Health

Do You Have Social Phobia?

Font Size
A
A
A

Most teens get a little nervous in social situations, like public speaking or working in groups. Teens with social phobia are highly anxious in situations like these. Their anxiety may make them avoid everyday social activities and can make social interactions very uncomfortable.

If you have these feelings of social phobia, it's important to know that there are treatments that can help you cope with social situations and enjoy your life again.

Recommended Related to Teens

Do I Spend Too Much Time Alone?

Q: I like to spend a lot of time alone (hey, I need to study!), but my roommate thinks I'm getting too isolated. Who's right? A:  Here's what might be going on. Typically, college students become isolated for one of three reasons: anxiety, stress, or depression. Trouble dealing with an academic workload, discomfort with a new environment, struggling to find like-minded people, and trying to adjust to college life can stir up all of these feelings. But balancing a social life with academic...

Read the Do I Spend Too Much Time Alone? article > >

What Is Social Phobia?

Social phobia is an irrational, intense, and persistent fear of a specific object, activity, or social situation, which people avoid or endure with extreme distress and anxiety.

In some teens, the fear is limited to one or two particular situations, like speaking in public or initiating a conversation. Other teens are very anxious and afraid of any social situation.

Social phobia affects about 5.3 million people in the United States. The average age of onset of social phobia is between age 11 and 19 -- the teenage years.

What Are the Symptoms of Social Phobia?

The symptoms of social phobia include:

  • Feeling very self-conscious in social situations, with symptoms like extreme shyness, stomachache, fast heart rate, dizziness, and crying.
  • Having a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others.
  • Feeling shy and uncomfortable when being watched (giving a presentation, talking in a group, performing at a piano or dance recital).
  • Feeling hesitant to talk to classmates or teammates (avoiding eye contact, sitting alone at lunch, being reluctant to speak during group projects).
  • Having physical sensations of anxiety (blushing, heart palpitations, nausea, and sweating, feelings of embarrassment or humiliation)

What Can I Do About Social Phobia?

If your social phobia keeps you from doing things you want to do, or from making or keeping friends, you may need treatment.

Talk about your fears and worries with a doctor or therapist who has experience treating social phobia. He or she will be able to tell if you have normal social anxiety or if you need treatment.

How Is Social Phobia Treated?

There are two effective treatments for social phobia: prescription medication and behavioral therapy. Teens may receive both at the same time. Here are some details on each:

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

unhappy teen couple
Article
mini cupcakes
fitSlideshow
 
teen couple
ARTICLE
Teenage Couple standing in a fairground laughing
Article
 
Sugary drinks
fitSlideshow
teen wearing toning shoes
fitSlideshow
 
young woman texting
Article
teen boy holding a condom
ARTICLE
 
Teen girls eating ice cream
fitQUIZ
teen sleeping
fitARTICLE
 
couple kissing
SLIDESHOW
Taylor Swift
fitSLIDESHOW