Yes, it's real, because I'm almost positive I have it. It's not just a thing where I feel shy or out of it every once in a while. It has crippled me every single day for the past two years, and I can't get over it.
It has separated me from my past friends, and I want them back really badly, but I don't feel like I'm capable of talking to them, and by now, they probably think I'm stuck up or not interested in them, so I don't think they like me anymore.
People think social anxiety disorder is fake, and people think that it's just a phase, but if you dealt with it everyday the way I (along with some others) do, you'd believe it's real.
It is my opinion that social anxiety is an actual disorder. There is something that occurs in the brain's functions that causes social anxiety. Medication can help people with this disorder, which leads to the belief that it is a physical disorder that occurs in the brain and not just a social phenomenon.
I think that in severe cases that a social anxiety disorder is very real. People are afraid to go outside of their houses or interact in social setting for a variety of reasons, but when it inhibits their life it truly becomes a disorder. It is not the same thing that everyone experiences.
Social anxiety is a very real neurological disorder. It is closer in comparison to epilepsy than any other condition that everybody experiences (sadness, happiness). Just as epileptic seizures are the result of excessive and abnormal cortical nerve cell activity in the brain, social anxiety has to do with complications within the human brain. One definitely cannot tell an epileptic person to stop having seizures, therefore one also cannot tell a social anxiety sufferer to "fake it" or "just be more social". It is just as much of a disorder as Depression or Seizures are. It stops you from functioning in a "normal" fashion within society.
While many people experience mild social anxiety, there are some people who are completely disabled by these concerns. Freud suggested that if a person can love (be in relationships with others) and work (be productive) that the person is reasonably healthy. Many people's social anxiety is significant but doesn't impede relationships or productivity. This is not the case for everyone, though. The diagnosis exists to help those who are unable to be productive or to be in relationships because of severe social anxiety.
I feel that it is not a disorder at all. I think at one point in our lives either as a child or adolescent and even in our adulthood everyone experiences this sometime during our lives. It really depends on how it is handled when you are a child how you will handle things as an adult.