At times all of us have feelings of shyness and discomfort in social situations. These occasional feelings of nervousness are not necessarily a sign that you suffer from social anxiety. The severity of these occasional symptoms will be different for every person because they are determined by genetics, personality traits, and life experiences. Some people are naturally more shy, while others are more outgoing. This is natural, the Symptoms of Social Anxiety are far more extreme than normal nervousness when exposed to an uncomfortable social situation.
Below is a list of every day experiences that someone who is suffering from this problem may find difficult to handle.
- Using a public telephone or restroom.
- Returning items to a store.
- Interacting with strangers.
- Writing in front of others.
- Making eye contact, even with those they are familiar with.
- Entering a room where other people are already seated.
- Ordering food in a restaurant.
- Being introduced to strangers.
- Initiating conversations.
One thing to be aware of is that the symptoms of this disorder can change as time passes. For those that feel they have their symptoms under control because you avoid situations which make you uncomfortable, you may still experience flare ups of your symptoms. If you have been avoiding social situations, and then you are suddenly thrust into a stressful or demanding situation you could have an even worse time of handling the situation. While avoidance can help you control the symptoms of social anxiety over the short-term, seeking help will allow you live a full life free of these symptoms.
When someone is suffering from social anxiety disorder they will actually fear new social situations. Their reactions to these types of situations can be severe. If you feel that you are suffering from social anxiety disorder the good news is that there is help available. With treatment you can learn to more comfortable in social situations and reclaim your life.
Common Triggers for Social Anxiety
For most people that suffer from social anxiety they usually feel as if they are the only person in the world that suffers from this problem. In reality, this is a very common problem, many people struggle with the same fears of social situations that you have. The only difference is that some people have different situations which trigger their symptoms, and some have worse reactions than others. Below is a list of the most common triggers for social anxiety symptoms.
- Meeting new people.
- Being the center of attention.
- Being watched while doing something.
- Making small talk.
- Public speaking.
- Performing on stage.
- Being teased or criticized.
- Speaking with authority figures.
- Being called on in class.
- Going on a date.
- Making phone calls.
- Using public bathrooms, or eating or drinking in public.
- Taking exams.
- Speaking up in meetings.
- Attending parties or other social gatherings.
As mentioned, having occasional nervousness in these situations does not mean you are suffering from social anxiety disorder. The way to know if you are suffering from social anxiety is when your reactions to social situations are so extreme that it starts interfering with your life. One example of the difference is that anyone can be somewhat nervous about giving a speech. Someone that is suffering from social anxiety disorder could worry for weeks prior to the event, they may lose sleep, and become physically ill. In fact, it is not uncommon for someone that has this disorder to call in sick the day of the speech to get out of speaking in public. If they do make it to the speech, they could have such an adverse reaction they will not be able to give their speech.
Emotional symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder
Below is a list of the Emotional symptoms people that suffer from this problem can suffer from.
- Excessive self-consciousness.
- Anxiety in everyday social situations.
- Intense worrying for days, weeks, or even months prior to an upcoming social situation.
- Excessive fear of being judged or watched by others, especially strangers.
- Extreme fear that you will embarrass yourself in social situations.
The Physical symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder
- Red face, blushing.
- Shortness of breath.
- Upset stomach.
- Shaking, including shaky voice.
- Racing heart and tightness in the chest.
- Sweating and/or hot flashes.
Behavioral symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder.
- Avoiding social situations to a degree that limits your activities and disrupts your life.
- Staying quiet or hiding in the background in order to escape notice and embarrassment.
- A need to always bring a buddy along with you wherever you go.
- Drinking before social situations in order to soothe your nerves.
As you can see there are many different symptoms of Social Anxiety, this is why if you think you are suffering from this problem you are right to seek help. Your doctor will be able to determine if you have social anxiety disorder or if your symptoms are the sign of some other disease or illness.