People with social anxiety suffer from a continuous fear of social situations. This fear is typically around becoming embarrassed or humiliated. Feeling slight anxiety in social situations is normal and is experienced by most people at one point or another.  For someone suffering from social anxiety disorder, that anxious feeling is much stronger and comes along with feelings of distress and self-consciousness.

Social anxiety disorder makes it very difficult to form typical friendships and romantic relationships, and heightens the difficulty of dealing with everyday life such as work, or even going out to buy food. Social anxiety is not limited to the moment of a social event, it is common for anxiety to start hours, days sometimes weeks before a social situation occurs. Often, sufferers will try to avoid social interactions entirely.

People with this disorder will often recognize that their feelings and behaviors are different, but feel unable to stop the anxious feelings.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder


Like several other mental health disorders, physical symptoms are common such as:

  •    Nausea
  •    Upset stomach
  •    Trembling
  •    Sweating
  •    Blushing

These can all happen during common everyday encounters.

Mental symptoms may include:


  •    Anxiety when faced with a social situation
  •    Troubles with talking to other people
  •    Feeling self-conscious or embarrassed in front of other people
  •    A constant fear of being judged
  •    Worrying days, even weeks in advance of a social situation
  •    Actively avoiding public areas
  •    Struggling to make or keep in contact with friends
Causes of Social Anxiety Disorder   Just like many other mental health conditions, social anxiety disorder cannot be pinpointed to one specific cause in most cases. There are several factors which may cause the condition such as genetics, trauma, long-term stress and brain chemistry. Typically, people are young when they first experience social anxiety disorder, generally as a teenager or in early adulthood. It is possible that parenting technique plays a part in whether a child will develop social anxiety disorder. If a parent is overprotective, they may stop the child learning the necessary skills to function in social situations. Without those skills, a child may grow up into someone who is insecure in social environments. Social anxiety is something that generally needs treatment to be resolved. Without treatment, social anxiety can continue throughout a person’s whole life. There are different degrees of this disorder which can range from not being able to eat in front of other people, to not being able to interact with other people at all. Social anxiety disorder has been diagnosed equally in men as it has women and usually coincides with another mental health condition such as depression or OCD.

Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder


Sadly, over 35% of people with social anxiety disorder have reported that they suffered from the disorder for more than 10 years before they sought professional help. Fearing social situations, it is understandable that someone with social anxiety disorder puts off setting up an appointment with a medical health professional.

It is common to treat social anxiety disorder in three ways,

  1.    Psychotherapy
  2.    Counseling
  3.    Medication

Many professionals will mix treatments together, usually psychotherapy and medication or counseling and medication. This multi-faceted approach helps sufferers deal with not only the symptoms of their disorder but also the cause. If you feel that you are suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder, you may want to speak with a qualified Psychologist to know your treatment options.