Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is an anxiety disorder characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation — such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others — or, in its most severe form, may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people.
Fears can be triggered by perceived or actual scrutiny from others. While the fear of social interaction may be recognized by the individual as excessive or unreasonable, overcoming it can be quite difficult. Panic attacks may also occur under intense fear and discomfort. An early diagnosis may help minimize the symptoms and the development of additional problems, such as depression.