Social anxiety disorder can make it incredibly difficult for people to interact with others and make friends. And according to a new study, people with the disorder also tend to have extremely warped perceptions of the friendships they do have.
Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis found that social anxiety often causes people who suffer from the disorder to have distorted perceptions of their relationships. In reality, their friendships may be much stronger than they think.
While the term “social anxiety” is often used casually to indicate shyness, introversion or awkwardness, the anxiety disorder — which is characterized by excessive and irrational fear of social situations — is very real. Social phobia is a recognized psychiatric condition affecting over 19 million Americans. Its symptoms can range in severity, and include a fear of meeting new people, fear of judgment and rejection, declining social invitations, and refraining from attending events and work functions for fear of rejection.
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