Narrator: This is Science Today. More than one out of ten people in this country suffer from social anxiety disorder, a phobia that can manifest itself as the common fear of public speaking or it can be more generalized and cause social isolation. Lynn Martin, a psychiatry research specialist at the University of California, San Francisco says people with a more generalized version of this disorder at first glance, appear to be very shy.
Martin: But when you look and talk to a person who has this in more detail, you find out it's very, very distressing and interferes with their functioning. These people have that high, physiologic anxiety and fear arousal response in a number of different social situations.
Narrator: It could be as simple as engaging in social chitchat or it can extend to performance anxiety.
Martin: When they feel evaluated by someone in an authority position. It could take the place of going to seek medical care. They can't talk to their doctor 'cause that person's an authority.
Narrator: While this makes seeking help very difficult, Martin says once diagnosed, treatment is very successful. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.