"Because you can't measure it on an X-ray, or a blood test, a lot of people will say things like 'was this made up by the drug companies?'" said Ross, who is also the director of the Ross Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders in Washington, D.C.
"That just perpetuates the stigma for those who have it and it perpetuates their fear of getting help," she said.
Shy is one thing, but the mental health world never really considered social anxiety a full-blown disorder until 1985 when Dr. Michael R. Liebowitz from Columbia University published a review calling "social phobia" a neglected disorder.
"That article really put it on the map," said Ross. Before then, Ross said, "Society treated it as, 'oh, it's really not that big a deal.' ... In a woman, it's 'oh, how cute she blushes.'"
Ross says because the disorder got full recognition in the 1990s and a lot of press from media and direct-to-consumer advertising, people with what's now called "social anxiety disorder" felt empowered to seek help.
According to Ross, when one of the estimated 5 million to 10 million people with social anxiety disorder in the United States comes forward to seek treatment, the line between a disorder and "shy" is as clear as day.
"For 30 years they've never gone into town because they can't talk to anybody," Ross said. "Or they may say: 'I dropped out of school, I'm suicidal, I've never had a date in my life, I can't go out to a restaurant and I can't call for tickets to a show.'"
There's no misnomer about how one can get tennis elbow, but many non-yuppie activities such as using a screwdriver, weaving, yard work or other maintenance work can cause tennis elbow.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the pain of a tennis elbow is similar to the "golfer's elbow," except that it occurs on the outside of the elbow instead of the crook of the arm.
Tennis elbow may be inflammation, soreness and/or pain on the outside of the upper arm near the elbow. According to the NIH, the injury can include a partial tear of a tendon near the elbow as well.
Besides pain near the elbow, signs that you've got tennis elbow include the inability to hold beverages like a cup of coffee (a good source for jokes about yuppies), forearm weakness and pain that shoots from the elbow to forearm and the back of the hand when the person tries to twist something.
Luckily, most people with tennis elbow can resolve the issue in time by resting the muscle, icing it and learning to play with better tennis technique. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, about one out of 10 people with the condition will require surgery.
People with generalized anxiety disorder face many of the same dilemmas attempting to explain their condition to a skeptic as people with social anxiety disorder.
Just as there's a difference between shy and an "intense paralyzing fear of social performance situations and fear of being negatively valued and judged in those situations," there's anxiety and intense worry, and then there's pathology, Ross said.
Ross likes to use the analogy of a mother suffering from anxiety severe enough to cause insomnia.
On the one hand, Ross said she could see a family where the prime breadwinner has been out of work, the bills are piling up and the children are having problems in school so much so that the mother is losing sleep and it's affecting her health.