Social phobia usually emerges in the mid-teens and typically does not affect young children. Children and adolescents with this disorder have a constant fear of social or performance situations, like speaking in class or eating in public. They are always afraid of being embarrassed in these situations. This fear is often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as sweating, blushing, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or muscle tenseness.
Young people with this disorder typically respond to these feelings by avoiding the frightening situation, such as staying home from school or not going to parties.
Young people with social phobia are often overly sensitive to criticism, have trouble being assertive, and have low self-esteem. Social phobia may be limited to certain situations so that the adolescent may experience a sense of dread in relation to dating or recreational events but may be confident in school and work situations.
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