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social anxiety disorder, social phobia

Social anxiety disorder, sometimes called social phobia, is more than just getting a little anxious right before you speak to a crowd of people. A lot of people experience shyness or feel self conscious at times, but these feelings don’t interfere with normal daily functioning. If the feelings of anxiety do interfere with normal functioning and daily activities, and they are severe enough to cause great distress, then social phobia or social anxiety is a problem and treatment is needed. The symptoms of this condition can be physical, emotional, and behavioral. Things to watch for include:

  • Being extremely self conscious and feeling a lot of anxiety every day when you are in social situations.

  • Worrying for days, or even weeks or months, about a social situation or anxiety inducing social event coming up.

  • A severe fear of being watched, especially by strangers, or a fear of others judging you.

  • Fear that people will see your anxiety, or that you will do something to cause you embarrassment or humiliation.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Sweating, dizziness, feeling faint.

  • Trembling, chest tightness, a racing heart or heart palpitations.

  • Nausea

  • Blushing and redness in your face.

These and other possible symptoms of social anxiety disorder or social phobia can range from mild to severe. You may find yourself avoiding all social activities and interactions completely, leaving you in social isolation. You could try to hide away or stay really quiet in the hopes that other people do not notice you at all. Some people try to have a drink or two to quell the anxiety before they attend a social event, others may always feel the need to bring a friend along for support.