Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Alternative Name: Social phobia, social anxiety disorder.

A persistent pattern of significant fear of a social or performance situation, manifesting in anxiety or panic on exposure to the situation or in anticipation of it, which the person realizes is unreasonable or excessive and interferes significantly with the person's functioning.

Sociophobia is a personality disorder that prevent an individual from having a healthy social life due to unreasonable excessive fear of being judged by others, being seen, scrutinize or any activity that requires social interaction.

Although there is no scientific proof of the real causes of sociophobia, we know that there are people with certain characteristics and personality that are more vulnerable. There are also specific circumstances that can trigger sociophobia in a person. Social phobia usually starts when a person is still a child or teenager. It is rare for it to start after a person reaches their mid-twenties. Anyone can have social phobia, but more women than men have the illness. It sometimes runs in families.

There main underlying causes of sociophobia that have been identified in most cases include:

    Heredity causes: In many cases individuals and child where they parents have social anxiety tend to have sociophobia too due to their genetic code, but this does not mean that disorder have to persist for life, it can be overcome with proper treatment especially at an early age.

  • Environmental Causes: When we are child we are very vulnerable to the environment in which we live, we acquire our values, behaviors and beliefs that in some cases are wrong. If a child lives in a family where they avoid social activities, where they don't let the child give his opinion or parents are too protective and they are shy too, then it can cause sociophobia in the child.

  • Neurological Causes: There are also many cases in which a chemical unbalance in the brain causes social phobia, this is due to the imbalance distribution of serotonin in the brain cells. When this happens a normal social situation can be seen as frightening by the individual.

  • Negative Experience: When a teenagers has an embarrassing experience at school or someone humiliate him for their performance at something or his body image, he might acquire sociophobia. Those negative experiences can become a trauma that provokes anxiety in front of people and fear of being scrutinized again by others.

People with sociophobia are at high risk for alcohol or other drug dependence, because they may come to rely on drinks or drugs to relax in social situations.

Sociophobia usually starts during the child or teen years, usually at about age 13. A doctor can tell that a person has sociophobia if the person has had symptoms for at least six months. Without treatment, sociophobia can last for many years or a lifetime.


Some common signs include:

    Be very anxious about being with otherand have a hard time talking to them, eventhough they wish they could.

  • Be very self-conscious in front of other peopleand feel embarrassed.

  • Be very afraid that other people will judge them.

  • Worry for days or weeks before an event whereother people will be.

  • Stay away from places where there are other.

  • People.

  • Have a hard time making friends and keepingfriends.

Other symptoms include:


  • Blushing.

  • Palpitations.

  • Tremors.

  • Sweating.

  • Diarrhea.


There is no diagnostic laboratory test for phobias. Diagnosis is based on the patient's account of their experiences. The health care provider will look at your history of phobia, and will get a description of the behavior from you, your family, and friends.

He/she will notice:

    Elevated blood pressure.

  • Rapid heart rate.


There is no known cure for sociophobia yet, but treatments can give relief to people who have it and help them live a more normal life. First, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor should do an exam to make sure that another physical problem is not causing the symptoms. The doctor may refer you to a mental health specialist (psychiatrist). Sociophobia is generally treated with medication, psychotherapy, or both.

Medications: Antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications are the most widely used medication to treat social anxiety disorder. They tend to produce a similar degree of improvement to psychological treatment. Drug treatment usually continues for a considerable length of time (e.g., at least two years).

Psychotherapy: A type of psychotherapy called cognitive behavior therapy is especially useful for treating sociophobia. It teaches a person different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations that help him or her feel less anxious and fearful. It can also help people learn and practice social skills.

Note:The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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