It’s Very Common.
Social anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorder and the third/fourth most common mental disorder in the U.S., after depression and alcohol dependence.
Social anxiety affected approximately 13.7% of Irish adults at any one point in time. That is nearly one in eight adults.
This will give you an idea of the scale of the issue.
The disorder most often surfaces in adolescence or early adulthood, but can occur at any time, including early childhood.
It is more common in women than in men.
Out of all the anxiety disorders and most of the mental health care problems, social anxiety disorder (aka – social phobia) is least understood. Social anxiety was the LAST anxiety disorder to be “discovered” (only formally recognized in 1979) and continues to be LAST in terms of public and professional understanding and awareness.
What makes this so ironic is that 13% of the general population suffers from some form of social anxiety, a severely debilitating emotional problem.
The vast majority of people with social anxiety do not know that they have it. They know there is something “wrong” with them, but they do not know what it is. They have never been properly diagnosed, because social anxiety is as foreign to counselors, therapists, doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists as it is to most other people.
Even though an abundance of research now exists about social anxiety, clinicians, in general, have not read it, and have not put it into practice. A large part of the problem is that social anxiety is difficult to fully understand because you can’t “see” it.