Social Anxiety Disorder is often considered as a set of symptoms triggered by intense fear of exposing oneself to social situations.

The person experiences fear of being negatively evaluated, of behaving awkwardly, of being humiliated, of making a fool of themselves or of other people being able to detect their anxiety symptoms.

The central element is the distorted estimation that the person makes about the unfavorable evaluations that other people can make about their performance or about a personal characteristic. The person believes that these evaluations are for sure very negative and that they will have harmful consequences. This will influence the person to develop an anticipatory anxiety response to the possibility of re-facing social situations and making mistakes again.

Usually, the first symptoms of social phobia appear around adolescence at about 13-15 years. When it appears so prematurely it is usually accompanied by more serious symptoms and the course tends to be chronic and is usually preceded by shyness or social inhibition.