Shyness exposed

But only 12% of youth who self-identify as shy actually meet the criteria to be diagnosed with social phobia.

Researchers collected household and school data from across the continental United States to find a nationally representative sample of adolescents aged 13–18 years. The survey included 10,123 adolescents and 6000 parents. 

The teens with social phobia had much greater impairment, and were more likely to experience anxiety, mood and behaviour disorders. 

They were also more likely to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, but no more likely than their same-age counterparts to be taking prescribed medications, the survey found.