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How is social phobia different from normal nervousness?

It is normal to be nervous before a big date or an important presentation. Social anxiety disorders are distinguished from normal nervousness by the intensity (very high) of your fear, the duration (long term) of the anxiety, and lifestyle impact (i.e. your fears prevent you from doing other things that are important to you). Another important feature of social anxiety disorder is that the anxiety and self-consciousness are disproportionate to the situation, and the person with the disorder is aware of this. For example, you may feel very strongly that everyone is watching you when you eat at a restaurant, but you logically understand that that is probably not the case.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.