Social anxiety is an anxiety disorder that describes the intense and overwhelming anxiety you might experience in social situations. Often the person who is affected by social anxiety excessively worries about how they are perceived, scrutinised or evaluated by others in a social context. Some examples of social situation that might trigger social anxiety include, group gatherings, giving a presentation, performing in front of others, starting, or having conversations with others, eating or drinking in front of others.
Most common social anxiety symptoms include:
Social anxiety symptoms
- Excessive worry about everyday social activities (for example, work presentations, shopping, speaking on the phone, meeting people, group gatherings, etc.)
- Excessive worry about doing something that you perceive as embarrassing (for example, sweating, blushing, or appearing weak, etc.)
- 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
When to seek help
Social anxiety can be debilitating and affect day-to-day life significantly. If you are experiencing most of the above symptoms, therapy/ counselling can help you understand the origins of social anxiety and overcome it. Dr Maria Pournara offers therapy/ counselling for social anxiety online.