"Shyness is a [research] topic that is not going to go away soon." When describing a child's temperament, parents, teachers and friends often toss around the "shy" label.
But scientists have their own way of defining the term.
According to ICD-10 guidelines, the main diagnostic criteria of social phobia are fear of being the focus of attention, or fear of behaving in a way that will be embarrassing or humiliating, avoidance and anxiety symptoms.
Standardized rating scales can be used to screen for social anxiety disorder and measure the severity of anxiety.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is an anxiety disorder characterized by a significant amount of fear in one or more social situations, causing considerable distress and impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life.
These fears can be triggered by perceived or actual scrutiny from others.
Some sufferers may use alcohol or other drugs to reduce fears and inhibitions at social events.
Socially anxious people tend to stick closely to a daily routine and avoid interacting with strangers.
Like most people, they have friends and loved ones; however, these connections are much harder to make and maintain.
There are many other terms that are used interchangeably with social anxiety, albeit incorrectly, like shyness or introversion.
These are completely different from social anxiety, as is social anxiety disorder or social phobia.
The issue poses many problems, but just as many solutions.