Social anxiety disorder is a common anxiety issue. Individuals suffering from this problem fear social situations.
Many are unable to function normally in everyday social settings such as school or work due to their fear.
Others are able to manage their fear but may still avoid some social activities to reduce their anxiety.
Social Anxiety Explained…
Individuals with social anxiety constantly feel public humiliation. They feel as if everyone is judging their every move. They are usually extremely shy and embarrass easily. Any symptoms typically only manifest when a person is faced with being in a social situation.
It is classified as a specific type of phobia and is not related to mental or physical issues. Individuals may fear being around nearly everyone except those they are close to such as family or friends.
Types Of Social Anxiety…
Social anxiety can be one of two types. Generalized social phobia is the worst of the two. Individuals with this type are typically afraid of most every social situation. They usually must seek treatment in order to function normally in every day situations.
Specific social phobia is less severe because the individual only experiences anxiety in specific social situations. Stage fright is one of the more common situations individuals fear. Their anxiety levels may be just as high during these specific situations as someone with generalized social phobia. The main difference is they usually feel little to no anxiety during other social functions.
The exact symptoms vary from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms an individual may experience include:
- Excessive worrying about social situations
- Fear of anxiety being noticed
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Rapid heartbeat
- Problems talking
Some individuals may only experience some of these while others may go through all of them. Many with severe social anxiety can have full blown panic attacks when anticipating or participating in a social situation. When symptoms do appear, individuals become even more self-conscious and feel as if everyone is watching them.
Symptoms may even appear weeks in advance of a social situation. They can continue for hours or days afterwards and it can be a constant cycle of worrying that never seems to end.
Social Anxiety Can Affect All Ages…
Approximately 15 million Americans are affected by social anxiety disorder. This does not include children and adolescents. Social phobia can develop in children who may not realize they have a problem. It is important for parents to recognize the symptoms to ensure the children get treatment in order to be able to be more successful in school and in making friends.
Women are more likely to be diagnosed than men and the disorder usually begins at a younger age, such as early adolescence. It can become worse if not treated and affect an individual’s ability to do well in school, hold down a job or go out in public. It is not uncommon for those with a social phobia to also be diagnosed with depression or another anxiety disorder.