Social anxiety disorder is defined as an intense fear of social situations where one comes into contact with unfamiliar people or there is scrutiny of others. A person with social anxiety will avoid situations in order to reduce the anxiety to help alleviate the fear of public embarrassment or scrutiny. Someone with social anxiety will fear that they will act in a certain way that makes others have a poor opinion of them.
What Does It Feel Like?
- Very self-conscious in social situations, such as meeting strangers, speaking on the phone, working or even starting conversation
- A persistent, intense, and chronic fear of judgement, especially by others (scrutiny) or doing something embarrassing
- Shy and uncomfortable when being watched (giving a presentation, talking in a group)
- Hesitant to talk to others
- The need to avoid eye contact, often looking away or at the ground
You also might have physical symptoms such as
- Rapid heartbeat
- Trouble catching breath or short/shallow breathing
- Diaphoresis or sweating
- Muscle twitching
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Stomach cramps and diarrhea