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Shyness or Social Anxiety Disorder?

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de GuideDecember 20, 2007

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The New York Times features an op-ed piece in which Christopher Lane, author of the new book Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness, argues that normal shyness has been transformed into the mental disorder known as social anxiety disorder. As a result, he argues, children who are shy are overdiagnosed and treated with SSRI's designed for patients with social anxiety disorder.

Social phobia is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as a “marked and persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or possible scrutiny by others."

Lane comments:
"How much credence should we give the diagnosis? Shyness is so common among American children that 42 percent exhibit it. And, according to one major study, the trait increases with age. By the time they reach college, up to 51 percent of men and 43 percent of women describe themselves as shy or introverted. Among graduate students, half of men and 48 percent of women do. Psychiatrists say that at least one in eight of these people needs medical attention."
Read the article: Shy on Drugs
An Interview with Christopher Lane: A Pill for Every Mood

  • What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
  • Shyness or SAD?
  • Shyness in Children


January 10, 2008 at 3:40 pm
(1) Lorenzo C.  :

I would like to suggest an other interesting interview to professor Lane, on Italian web-site http://www.psicolinea.it. The interview has also been translated in Italian.

English version

Italian version


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