Social Anxiety

Social anxiety disorder is the experience of intense anxiety or fear of social situations in which a person worries that s/he may be scrutinised or negatively evaluated by others (e.g., stupid, weak, unlikeable, weird). Often s/he worries that s/he will act in such a way or show anxiety symptoms (e.g., sweating, blushing, shaking, stuttering) that will lead to humiliation or rejection by others. Examples of these social situations include social interactions (e.g., having a conversation, meeting unfamiliar people), being observed (e.g., eating or drinking), and performing in front of others (e.g., giving a speech). As a result s/he almost always avoids social situations or endures them with marked fear or distress. Social anxiety can interfere significantly with an individual’s functioning such as social, occupational or other areas of his/her daily life.

If you suffer from social anxiety, you are likely to experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Excessive worry about everyday social activities such as working, shopping, speaking on the phone, starting or having conversations, meeting people or group gatherings
  • Excessive worry about doing something that you perceive as embarrassing such as sweating, blushing, or appearing not confident or weak
  • Fear of you being criticised, scrutinised, or being humiliated by others
  • Avoidance or endurance of social situations with intense fear or anxiety
  • The fear, anxiety, or avoidance causes you significant distress in social and occupational contexts
  • Panic attacks in which you have an overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety
  • Feelings of sickness, sweating, dizziness, shaking or trembling in social situations