'You know what it's like to be allergic to cats, or dust, or pollen... now, imagine that you felt allergic to people.' When does shyness turn pathological?
Joe Moran has spent his life trying to get to grips with his shyness. In this Field Guide to Shyness, he explores the hidden world of reticence, navigating the myriad ways scientists and thinkers have tried to explain and cure shyness, and uncovering the fascinating stories of the men and women who were 'of the violet persuasion'.
"It feels like coming late to a party when everyone else is about three beers in and entering that state that allows them to have fluent exchanges that settle on some pre-agreed theme as if by magic."
In 1993, a drug initially intended as an antidepressant, Paxil, was marketed in the US as alleviating social anxiety disorder. Since then, many other drugs, like Prozac and Zoloft, have been rebranded as treating social anxiety. But when does shyness become pathological?
Read by Nigel Planer
Written by Joe Moran
Abridged and produced by Hannah Marshall
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.
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