Since the introduction of the concept of social anxiety or phobia to the American nosological system in DSM-III , it has become increasingly apparent that the condition is also prevalent in other cultures. In Japan, for example, the condition, called taijinkyofusho usually abbreviated as TKS in English , is widespread and has been extensively discussed since the turn of the century, a fact not well known in the English-speaking psychiatric community. In comparing social phobia in Japanese society and in other East Asian societies with North American societies, two questions stand out. First, if TKS is social phobia, why is it so different from the American form of social phobia? In particular, why do typical TKS patients fear the possibility of distressing, and even harming, others, whereas their American counterparts feel anxious at the possibility of being embarrassed by others?
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Movies (series) with characters suffering from social anxiety
Social Anxiety: The Least Understood Anxiety Disorder | Social Anxiety Institute
Most people will find that they are scared of something. That is, they are irrationally afraid of some thing or some situation that triggers a deep feeling of anxiety. Some examples include a fear of spiders arachnophobia , or a fear of heights acrophobia , a fear of thunder and lightning astraphobia , or a fear of flying pteromerhanophobia , to name a few. There are, of course, many more, but social phobias tend to be among the most common, at least in the United States. A culture-specific syndrome is named as such because they are psychiatric symptoms that are considered to be a recognizable disease within a particular culture. That being said, there is some debate about whether or not it is actually culturally bound, so I thought we could analyze that, a little bit as well. Taijin Kyofusho TKS , which translates to "the fear of interpersonal relations", was first diagnosed in Japan and is characterized by an individual's intense fear that his or her body is embarrassing to others.
Cultural differences in social anxiety are known to exist. This makes sense because different cultures have different social rules and expectations. What is considered "okay" behavior in the United States might be frowned upon in Japan, and vice versa. In addition, research shows that there are differences in the prevalence of SAD in different cultures. In general, social anxiety is less common in East Asian countries.
The rise of digital communication seems to be spawning a nation of indoor cats, all humble-bragging about how introverted they are and ordering their rides and groceries without ever talking to a human. Sometimes reclusiveness can be a sign of something more serious, though. I recently talked with Hofmann about how social anxiety works and what people who feel socially anxious can do about it.