What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is a common form of anxiety characterized by an intense and distressing degree of discomfort and/or fear in social situations. Social anxiety is most often triggered when interacting with other people or in situations where one’s actions or appearance may be judged or evaluated by others.
People experiencing social anxiety typically experience a heightened awareness and concern for how other people may perceive them and almost always believe that they are being judged negatively, at least in the moment. People with social anxiety oftentimes develop patterns of avoiding certain places or situations in order to prevent embarrassment, failure, or some other form of perceived harm.
When any of the above symptoms begin to interfere with a person’s life or cause health or safety concerns, seeking professional help from a trained mental health professional (e.g., therapist, counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist) is highly recommended.
Common Symptoms of Social Anxiety
nervousness, irritability, stress
rumination, racing thoughts, excessive planning
rapid heart beat, nausea, rapid breathing (e.g., hyperventilation), dizziness or feeling faint, chest tightness, frequent headaches, low energy, fatigue
avoiding social interactions or places that elicit anxiety, fidgeting, shaking or trembling, speaking faster than usual, hypervigilance