Medical Definition of Sociophobia

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Sociophobia: Fear of social gatherings, fear of socializing, fear of embarrassment in social situations that is extremely intrusive and can have markedly debilitating effects on personal and professional relationships.

Phobias are persistent, excessive, irrational fears of certain objects or situations. People plagued by phobias recognize that their fears may be outsized and unreasonable, but are unable to overcome them. They are essentially addicted to their fears.

The signs and symptoms of sociophobia include blushing, sweating, trembling, rapid heartbeat, muscle tension, nausea or other stomach discomfort, lightheadedness, and other symptoms of anxiety.

Untreated severe sociophobia may be disabling to a person's work, social and family relationships. In extreme cases, a sociophobe may begin to avoid all social situations and become housebound. Treatments for sociophobia include medications, a specific form of psychotherapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy, or a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

"Sociophobia" is derived from the Latin "socius" (companion) and the Greek "phobos" (fear).

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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