Shy? Or Something More Serious?

By Christopher Lane
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, November 6, 2007; Page HE01
If anyone in my parents’ generation had argued that shyness and other run-of-the-mill behaviors might one day be called mental disorders, most people would probably have laughed or stared in disbelief. At the time, wallflowers were often admired as modest and geeks considered bookish. Those who were shy might sometimes have been thought awkward — my musically gifted mother certainly was — but their reticence fell within the range of normal behavior. When their discomfort was pronounced, the American Psychiatric Association called it “anxiety neurosis,” a psychoanalytic term that encouraged talk-related treatment.
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