Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2011 --- 7:10 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Half of all teenagers say they're shy but for some it's more than that.
A government study finds a small fraction of those teens show signs of a troubling anxiety disorder that can be mistaken for extreme shyness.
Researchers say shyness if a normal human temperament and that it can be hard to tell when feeling sad turns into depression.
The difference is that the shy can be drawn out and adapt, while teens or adults with full-fledged social anxiety are inhibited from everyday functioning.
About 47 percent of teens identified themselves as shy. The study team found that about 1 in 10 of the self-described shy kids met the American Psychiatric Association's criteria for social anxiety disorder or social phobia.
There are anxiety-treating medications but the main treatment is behavioral therapy, exposing people very gradually to fear-inducing situations and teaching them coping techniques
Copyright 2011. The Associated Press.