HOW SHYNESS BECAME AN ILLNESS: A Brief History of Social Phobia

HOW SHYNESS BECAME AN ILLNESS: A Brief History of Social Phobia S y m p o s i u m : Uns o c ia l T ho u g ht , Unc o m mo n L i v e s, Pa r t 2 HOW SHYNESS BECAME AN ILLNESS A Brief History of Social Phobia Christopher Lane Might there be a brand of “shyness” serious enough to warrant medical attention? There is. It is “social phobia.”  — Murray B. Stein, The Lancet (1996) In 1993, Psychology Today magazine named “social phobia” the “disorder of the decade.”1 The irrational fear of having one’s “social performance . . . carefully monitored” apparently surpassed in magnitude even depression (for which almost 200 million prescriptions are written annually in the United States alone).2 A barrage of new studies confirmed that America was witnessing a pandemic of The author thanks the Chicago Psychoanalytic Society, the Great Books Foundation, and the University of Kentucky Committee on Social Theory for their response to earlier versions of this essay, which were delivered as lectures. He in particular thanks Virginia Blum, Mitchell Wilson, Cristina Hanganu-Bresch, Michael Liebowitz, and David Healy. 1. “Disorder of the Decade,” Psychology Today, July/August 1993, 22. 2. IMS Health, www.imshealth.com/ims/portal/front/ articleC/0,2777,6599_18731_77056778,00.html. (accessed May 23, 2006). Common Knowledge 12:3 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Common Knowledge Duke University Press

HOW SHYNESS BECAME AN ILLNESS: A Brief History of Social Phobia

Common Knowledge, Volume 12 (3) – Oct 1, 2006

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
© 2006 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0961-754X
eISSN
0961-754X
DOI
10.1215/0961754X-2006-004
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

S y m p o s i u m : Uns o c ia l T ho u g ht , Unc o m mo n L i v e s, Pa r t 2 HOW SHYNESS BECAME AN ILLNESS A Brief History of Social Phobia Christopher Lane Might there be a brand of “shyness” serious enough to warrant medical attention? There is. It is “social phobia.”  — Murray B. Stein, The Lancet (1996) In 1993, Psychology Today magazine named “social phobia” the “disorder of the decade.”1 The irrational fear of having one’s “social performance . . . carefully monitored” apparently surpassed in magnitude even depression (for which almost 200 million prescriptions are written annually in the United States alone).2 A barrage of new studies confirmed that America was witnessing a pandemic of The author thanks the Chicago Psychoanalytic Society, the Great Books Foundation, and the University of Kentucky Committee on Social Theory for their response to earlier versions of this essay, which were delivered as lectures. He in particular thanks Virginia Blum, Mitchell Wilson, Cristina Hanganu-Bresch, Michael Liebowitz, and David Healy. 1. “Disorder of the Decade,” Psychology Today, July/August 1993, 22. 2. IMS Health, www.imshealth.com/ims/portal/front/ articleC/0,2777,6599_18731_77056778,00.html. (accessed May 23, 2006). Common Knowledge 12:3

Journal

Common KnowledgeDuke University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2006

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