social phobia

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An anxiety disorder characterized by a phobia of scrutiny by others or of being the focus of attention in social situations involving strangers. Exposure to such social situations either generates anxiety about behaving in an embarrassing or humiliating way, or triggers a panic attack, but the reaction is recognized by the afflicted person (if an adolescent or adult) as excessive or irrational, and the avoidance behaviour or anxious anticipation interferes significantly with everyday life, occupational or academic performance, or social relationships. See also hikikomori, paroxetine. Compare specific phobia.

Subjects: Psychology.

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