Social Phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder in which the individual carries the concern that he/she will be embarrassed, humiliated and considered as ridiculous or clumsy in the situations where he/she thinks that the eyes are on him/her or in a social circle. The people who carry this concern are constantly worried about being criticized or judged by other people. Due to these thoughts and fears, they try to stay away from these types of circles as far as possible. The fear grows especially in the situations where a performance is needed to be carried out in front of other people (such as making a speech, having a meal with others or writing while other people are looking).

Another situation that the fear is intensively experienced is interaction or communication with strangers (such as attending to a party or talking to a stranger). To speak of a person having a social phobia, the existence of at least one of these situations is enough. However, these situations cause excessive fear or concern among some individuals.

The people who have the symptoms of Social Phobia avoid carrying out an action beside others, and if they have to carry it out anyway, they do this with an intensive concern. As a result, while carrying out these actions, their hands shake or voices quaver or faces blush due to the concern they are going through. The appearance of these symptoms accordingly increases the person’s anxiety. The reason is that the thought of being considered as weak, coward and incompetent individuals is added to the other thoughts above. The people whose minds are usually occupied with these thoughts are actually aware of the excessiveness of their fears and concerns, but still they cannot prevent them.

Even though this condition is actually encountered frequently in the society, some people might think that it is not a disease due to being mixed up with shyness. In fact, social phobia is a condition that creates so much anxiety that it cannot be explained simply with shyness.

As in many of the psychiatric diseases, the cause of social phobia is not fully known. Additionally, some of the features of people with social phobia are known. These people are overly sensitive to criticism and negative evaluation or rejection. On the other hand, their thoughts about themselves are also pretty negative. While they are worrying about other people criticizing or judging them, they are actually making the strictest and unfairest judgment themselves. They almost have a structure within themselves that disapproves their own action and is constantly ready to criticize them which is pretty effective.

In other respects, even when they present a good performance or are successful, they firstly think that this success is not enough. It seems like their success bar is too high for them and seems unlikely to pass this bar. The reason is that in their childhood, these people considered their parents as negative, critical or punisher. After this child grows up, he/she keeps those parents alive inside so that they always watch him/her with critical eyes and are ready to find his/her mistakes.

Social Phobia is a condition which the psychiatrists are pretty successful in treatment. With the help of some medicines that are used in depression treatment or psychotherapy, treatment is possible. The cognitive behaviorist therapy that aims to change the thoughts mentioned above which leads to a decrease in the concerns, or psychoanalytic-oriented psychotherapy that intends to change the person’s feelings and their reasons, the negative effects of childhood experiences in the adulthood can be considered as two of the psychotherapy methods.