Social Anxiety is a disorder defined by intense fear in social situations.  Sometimes it can encompass specific situations (ie-dating anxiety) and sometimes it can be generalized to broad situations (ie-leaving the house).  In either case the general course is to avoid the situation that triggers the anxiety-hence living with avoidance to varying degree.

Anxiety of this sort often has its roots in early life and may have manifested in various symptoms, mostly separation anxiety. Later it can show co-morbidity with other anxiety disorders (panic, PTSD and generalized anxiety), psychosomatic ailments, substance abuse-use and depression.

Treatment occurs at various levels. Medication can treat the symptoms (anti-anxiety or antidepressant in most cases) but psychotherapy is recommended. Therapy can take the form of symptom reduction (cognitive behavior, hypnosis/meditation/EMDR/stress management) or looking for the root of the initial anxiety via more traditional methods.

Here Dr. Joe Rabinovitz and I have an opportunity to speak with Scott Heide, subject of the online video SoFloDude86 and a recent edition of MTV True Life. You can view the episode here