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Social phobia: what it is and what it is not.

There are lots of inferences in the media today about pharmaceutical companies manufacturing social anxiety disorder out of shyness in order to sell their product. The term social anxiety disorder itself contributes to this erroneous perception. It was introduced to provide a better understanding of what social phobia actually is but, instead, it seems to have impacted on the credibility of social phobia as serious disorder. Social phobia is not shyness. It is far more devastating. It can prove fatal.

Unfortunately because of this confusion over shyness, social phobic children are still not being diagnosed. Shyness is not necessarily a symptom of social phobia at all and, in fact, many social phobic children (adults, too) are not in the least bit shy. Some of the real signs of the condition, and the reasons for their not being recognized as such, are:

There are many less obvious signs, all of them likely to be mistaken for something else. However, it is not shyness. It is not just a phase your child is going through. It is not something he/she will grow out of it. Persistent fear of social or performance situations in which your child is exposed to scrutiny, or perceived scrutiny, which will cause him/her humiliation or embarrassment, and the anxiety and avoidance provoked by this fear which together significantly impede his/her development and academic progress is social phobia.

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