|Is Shyness Fear or Anxiety?
Social Anxiety Shyness Info
Technically, Shyness is anxiety in social situations.
In speaking of anxiety, one thinks about a medical condition, a
disease. Is Shyness a disease?
Let us see first the difference between fear and anxiety.
– apprehension in view of a real, objective threat,
– involving risk of life or physical harm.
– discomfort, in which apprehension predominates,
in view of a threat seen with the "eyes of the imagination,"
– involving a vague risk, with or without physical
However, the word "fear" has been consecrated
by use, whether to describe Shyness, or to describe a situation
in which the person feels threatened despite the absence of a real
threat. This occurs even in medical publications and I myself use
it in this website.
Problem anxiety – Paradoxical as it may seem, medicine
regards most anxieties as normal. To be a medical condition, anxiety
has to meet certain criteria, such as:
*to occur most days in a period of at least 6 months;
*to show at least three of the following signs and symptoms: irritability,
fatigue, restlessness, muscle tension, sleep disturbance, or trouble
The average individual has normal anxiety – It is regarded
as normal that people feel threatened when there is actually no
real danger, as long as this is occasional or in specific circumstances and provided that there is no significant harm done. Most
shy people contribute to form this average standard. Between 40%
and 50% of the world's population meet the diagnosis criteria for
Shyness in its various types.
The vast majority of shy people are
not regarded as sick nor bearers of anxiety disorder by
medical criteria. The International Disease Classification,
drawn up by the World Health Organization, only
includes as disorders the more extreme cases of anxiety
in social situations. Example: Social Phobia
/ Social Anxiety.
Shyness is a common occurrence linked to specific situations. Example: The person who is a bit tense, breathing out of synchrony, with his heart beating fast in certain situations, such as speaking in public. This is not out of the ordinary as long as these expressions of anxiety pass and do not harm speech or performance .
In the articles Self-concept / Self-actualization
- Shyness Nucleus, Humiliation Stories, School Spankings: Examples of Shyness Causes, as
in Questions and Answers on Shyness, and
other angles of this topic are examined.
Anguish and Anxiety
Anguish - Anguish is not the same as anxiety. Anxiety is a
situation of apprehension, anguish of pain. The best definition of anguish is a
feeling of suffering due to unknown reasons.
The anguish process is similar to that of anxiety. The true
causes of our anguish are almost always different from what
we imagine them to be. Example: "I have applied for
that job and am anguished about what their response is going to be."
Is this statement right? No, it is wrong. The cause could lie in self-concept
sentences, such as: "I cannot bear the uncertainty" "The other applicants
are more prepared than I am" "Everything is more difficult for me
than for other people."
This is why, as is the case with anxiety, causes of anguish are generally unknown.
What we think is the cause is actually nothing more than the symptoms of aspects of the
self-concept in certain situations.
Anxiety and anguish can be together or separate in the same person.
Example: A person suffering from Social Phobia / Social Anxiety
has many symptoms during the anxiety attacks and a certain anguish
while living with the expectation of another attack. A shy person may harbor similar feelings as regards his
/ her Shyness.
Updated: May, 2005
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