Social Phobia, aka Social Anxiety Disorder, is defined by a marked and persistent fear of social or performance situations in which embarrassment or humiliation may occur. The individual feels acutely aware of the perceived scrutiny of others. When exposed to a feared social situation, he/she feels anxiety, which may precede a Panic Attack, despite awareness that the excessive fear is unreasonable. This anxiety causes individuals to avoid most social situations or to be incredibly uncomfortable if they must be endured. Due to the level of distress, individuals with Social Phobia suffer impairment in social, occupational, and/or academic functioning.
American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, text Revision. Washington, DC American Psychiatric Association, 2000.