ADAA member Dr. Richard Heimberg, director of the Adult Anxiety Clinic of Temple University, explains social anxiety disorder, which affects more than 15 million Americans.
ADAA produced these videos in association with the Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety.
Social anxiety disorder affects more than 15 million Americans of all ages, races, and cultures, and it may be present in children as well as adults. This disorder is an intense fear of being negatively judged by others. Watch
Those with social anxiety disorder experience an intense fear of being scrutinized and negatively evaluated by others in social or performance situations. Some literally feel sick. Physical symptoms commonly include blushing, profuse sweating, trembling, nausea or other gastrointestinal distress, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness, headaches, and feelings of detachment and loss of self-control.Watch
The typical age of onset is 13 years old, but children younger than 8 or 9 can also suffer. Symptoms may be so extreme that they disrupt daily life. Children, adolescents, and teens with this disorder may have few or no friends. They may not participate in class or play at recess.Watch
Adults with social anxiety disorder often feel alone and ashamed, and they may have few or no social or romantic relationships. People may have more than one anxiety disorder, as well as depression. Seek the help of a qualified health professional if you feel your anxieties are disrupting your daily life.Watch
A health professional can provide a diagnosis and individualized treatment plan for social anxiety disorder. Both cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication are scientifically proven effective treatments. Your therapist should be able to discuss how long it will take for you to begin to experience relief. Watch