Everyone experience some shyness or discomfort at some point in his or her lives. This can come from new situations or going to a party and not know anyone. A person who is shy would feel awkward around people; yet anxiously want to socialize with others. Eventually the shy person would become comfortable after doing the uncomfortable thing. Just to be clear there is no confusion between introverts and shy people. According to Psychology Today, introverts feel energized being alone.
On the other hand, social phobia, which is synonymous with social anxiety disorder, is an intense fear of people judging and criticizing you. The fear overwhelms a person to produce a physical reaction to the situation such as: sweating, heart racing, nausea, or dizziness. The person with social phobia would avoid those scary situations at all cost. This means the fear impairs your ability to move forward in getting the things you want in life. For example, suppose a person named Keith had a class presentation. He was overwhelmed with fear of public speaking that he stopped doing his homework and failed his class. A study found 70% of people with social anxiety disorder are in the lower socioeconomic scale, because they were too afraid to either speak up for a promotion or find a different job. If you have social anxiety disorder, you are not alone. WebMD states social anxiety disorder is the third most common disorder after major depression and substance abuse.
Psychology Today. “Understanding Shyness Social Anxiety.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC, 2012. Web. 12 Oct. 2012. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/shyness>.
Feature, Gina ShawWebMD, and WebMD. “Just Shy or Social Anxiety Disorder.” Anxiety & Panic Disorders Health Center. WebMD, LLC, 2012. Web. 12 Oct. 2012. <http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/just-shy-social-anxiety-disorder>.