What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Countless people suffer from an intense fear of certain situations like being stuck in an unwanted situation, feeling of being watched, judged, or criticized by others. Such cases evoke extreme anxiety even if you only think about them. These feelings or thoughts are identified as Social Anxiety Disorder.

In other words, the fear of being dissected, disapproved, or uncomfortable in public is known as Social Anxiety Disorder . People suffer from this struggle a lot in their day-to-day lives as they cannot express their thoughts and emotions, creating misunderstandings among peers. However, there are some ways to make you comfortable in such situations to a peaceful life.

Causes of Social Anxiety or Social Phobia

Some people may not know this but, social anxiety is a common disorder among people of all age groups. The majority of people suffer from fears, but the trigger of the symptoms of social anxiety disorder varies from person to person.

Here are some of the common triggers for social anxiety:

  • Speaking in front of a large audience
  • Talking with strangers
  • A feeling of being watched while performing an activity
  • Speaking in public
  • Speaking with authority figures
  • Being pestered or disapproved
  • Becoming the center of attraction
  • Out in public
  • Being present in a social gathering

These things can act as a trigger for social anxiety for numerous people. However, some people mistake common tension or stress as a social anxiety disorder. Therefore, it is essential to differentiate between common social anxiety or social anxiety disorder.

Social Anxiety Disorder: Signs and Symptoms

As mentioned earlier, some people get shy or insecure at some social events. Yet, it does not hinder their day-to-day life whereas, Social Anxiety Disorder affects working every day in a significant way. It causes some major distress and negative thoughts.

For instance, you may feel a little jitter or insecure while meeting someone special. However, someone who suffers from social anxiety disorder might be worried for weeks and may faint or Sutter during the meeting.

There are three different types of Signs and Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder:

  • Emotional Sign and Symptoms
  • Behavioral Sign and Symptoms
  • Physical Sign and Symptoms

Let's discuss each of them.

Emotional Sign and Symptoms

  • Extremely self-consciousness
  • A constant worry for any important upcoming gathering, even if it is weeks or months later.
  • The constant fear of being watched or judged by people you don't know
  • Fears of doing something that might humiliate you

Behavioral Sign and Symptoms

  • Avoiding meeting people to the extent that limits your activities
  • Staying out of the sight of people, so no one notices you
  • Always bringing your friend to social places
  • Drinking a glass or two before any social situations to soothe your mental strain

Physical Sign and Symptoms

  • Always blushing
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Shaky voice
  • Trembling
  • Sweaty palms
  • A sudden tightness in the chest

Ways To Overcome Your Social Anxiety Disorder

Learn to control your thoughts

If you are suffering from an anxiety disorder or know someone who suffers from this problem, then you may have heard these lines:

  • "I think I should leave; I'll make a fool of myself."
  • "Oh God! I think I am going to faint."
  • "People out there will think I am stupid."

Firstly, one needs to understand that he or she does not know the future instead of dwelling on the negative thing or something positive. One of the best things to do in such situations is to question you. Ask yourself, "why would I blow this up? I have done my research, and I am prepared. I can answer all the questions." Chant this in your head like a mantra, and sooner than later, you will see a positive change in your attitude.

Breathing Exercise

Shorting a breath or taking way too deep a breath is harmful to your body. An anxious person tends to do any one of these two things. Whenever you feel a change in your breathing pattern, count from 1 to 10 in your head, inhale and slowly exhale. Continue to do this for another few seconds to regulate your breathing. An imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide can lead to other medical problems like muscle tension or increased heart rate.

Challenge yourself

People tend to avoid nerve-wracking situations for an easy escape- however, it dampers your confidence for the long run. Running from a problem prevents you from becoming more open and comfortable in public or social places. The more you avoid the situation, the more nervous you get for the next one. It is easy to say that one needs to face his/her fears, but it isn't easy to do in reality. Thus, it would be best if you start slowly. Little by little, add those things in your life that worked as a trigger for your anxiety. This way, you can build your confidence and become more comfortable around strangers. Don't try to overstress yourself by constantly putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. This can lead to a severe mental breakdown.

Treatment For Social Anxiety Disorder

If you feel that nothing is working for you, you can always seek medical help. A professional will give you the right advice and medications to deal with your social anxiety disorder. People suffering from anxiety or social anxiety disorder may not be too comfortable opening up to a stranger, but this is one step towards your recovery.


One of the most recommended treatments for people who suffer from a social anxiety disorder is CBT, i.e., Cognitive-behavioral therapy. According to medical professionals, this therapy has shown the best results for treating social anxiety disorder. CBT believes that your behavior depends on how you feel or get affected due to specific scenarios. So, if you think positively about social interaction or gathering that gives you stress or anxiety, you'll be able to feel better.

Things to do under CBT are:

  • Learn a command over physical symptoms of social anxiety by breathing exercises.
  • Replace your negative thoughts that trigger your social anxiety.
  • Step-by-step making yourself comfortable with a social gathering or public places.
  • Watch videotapes, mock interviews of situations that make you anxious to avoid the element of surprise.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is another way to make you comfortable with strangers. You are surrounded by people who share the same pain as you, making you feel at peace. With time you get less anxious while meeting new people and making small conversation. This helps you in making growth in your personal life and your career.

Medication for Social Anxiety Disorder

Medications worked well when you took along your therapy and self-help techniques. However, one cannot only rely on medicine as they are not a permanent cure. Identifying the root cause of your social anxiety disorder helps in better treatment from your doctor.

Anyone can suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder, and there is nothing to be ashamed about. Rather than making your life difficult by dealing with it alone, you can follow some simple exercises for long-lasting results. Initially, the process may seem slow to you, but the results will definitely be in your favor. Seek medical help if simple exercises are not working for you but do not let this disorder hamper your daily life.

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