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Definition of Sociophobia

Sociophobia: Fear of social gatherings, fear of socializing, fear of embarrassment in social situations that is extremely intrusive and can have markedly debilitating effects on personal and professional relationships.

Phobias are persistent, excessive, irrational fears of certain objects or situations. People plagued by phobias recognize that their fears may be outsized and unreasonable, but are unable to overcome them. They are essentially addicted to their fears.

The signs and symptoms of sociophobia include blushing, sweating, trembling, rapid heartbeat, muscle tension, nausea or other stomach discomfort, lightheadedness, and other symptoms of anxiety.

Untreated severe sociophobia may be disabling to a person's work, social and family relationships. In extreme cases, a sociophobe may begin to avoid all social situations and become housebound. Treatments for sociophobia include medications, a specific form of psychotherapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy, or a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

"Sociophobia" is derived from the Latin "socius" (companion) and the Greek "phobos" (fear).

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=12431
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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