What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is a type of anxiety disorder that causes overwhelming fear and unease in social situations. Developing from an early age, usually, as a teenager, social anxiety is often a crippling condition due to the inability to take part in everyday social situations, such as going to work, shopping, meeting strangers, and developing relationships. Like most anxiety disorders, there are different levels of severity to social anxiety. Many manage to live with the condition while still taking part in certain social situations, while others find it impossible to do anything involving social situations.
What are the Symptoms of Social Anxiety?
Don’t confuse shyness with social anxiety – it is much more serious than feeling shy in social situations. Instead, it’s a constant fear that is present every day and has a detrimental impact on things like self-confidence, personal relationships, work, and school.
While many people naturally worry about some social situations, social anxiety is a permanent fear of all types of social interactions. This feeling of worry and fear are felt before, during, and after any social situation.
More about symptoms.
For example, people with social anxiety dread the thought of most everyday activities like speaking with a stranger, taking part in conversations, talking in a group, and speaking on the phone. Because of the anxiety, these situations cause most people with social anxiety to avoid them whenever possible.
Another common symptom of social anxiety is worrying about yourself in social activities. For example, frequently worrying about saying or doing something embarrassing (like sweating or blushing).
Many people with social anxiety struggle to do things in front of other people. The fear and concern of being embarrassed makes it difficult to do normal things when other people are there – such as eating or talking in public – mainly because they feel they are being judged.
Low self-esteem is also a notable feature of social anxiety. Because people feel they are being judged and are fearful of being embarrassed, they often feel they are useless and should never take part in social situations, even when it’s unwarranted.
In serious forms of social anxiety, people often suffer from panic attacks that are triggered by social situations. This involves feeling an overwhelming fear and worry about being in a social situation, causing a variety of physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, palpitations, light-headedness etc. Due to the severity of most social anxiety disorders, many people dealing with the condition also suffer from additional mental health problems such as depression or another anxiety disorder.
Seeking Help for Social Anxiety
If you’re dealing with social anxiety then it’s recommended to seek help when possible. This is a serious condition that makes life incredible challenging, as social interactions and situations are a normal part of life.
Because social situations cause worry for people with social anxiety, seeking help is often difficult as it requires some sort of social situation, such as going to speak with a doctor. This is always a good idea however, as medical professionals can check symptoms to see if it is social anxiety and then recommend appropriate treatments.