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Humans are instinctively social creatures. They work together. They play together. They form relationships with each other. Interacting is an important part of growing and learning.

But, for 15 million American adults suffering from social anxiety disorder, interacting socially can bring overwhelming feelings of dread. These individuals are excessively self-conscious in everyday social situations. They may worry for days or weeks before a dreaded situation, such as an interview or social gathering. Then, they may worry for hours afterward about how they were judged.

The symptoms are not pleasant, either. They may sweat profusely, blush or tremble, or have difficulty talking. They may experience nausea and diarrhea. Their hearts may pound forcefully in their chests.

In more severe cases , the physical symptoms and feelings of dread and fear are so strong or negative, people just start to avoid certain situations altogether. This fear can be debilitating and prevent a person from pursuing normal life activities, and even their own dreams.  continued>>

 
WRITTEN BY PAM SHERBORNE
ILLUSTRATION BY JAMES STEINBERG
 
 
 
 
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