While it’s generally common to sometimes feel out of place at a social event you got dragged to by a friend, are you aware that there exists a serious disorder related to that feeling? Social anxiety disorder, sometimes referred to as social phobia, isn’t just feeling shy to speak to a stranger.
Having social anxiety disorder makes you extremely anxious about other people’s opinions about yourself, how they may judge you and as a result, social interactions with other human beings become an absolute nightmare.
Some symptoms of social anxiety disorder can include a marked fear or dread of situations where you’d be forced to strike up a conversation with a stranger. There is an irrational fear that you might embarrass or humiliate yourself to an extent that other people will think you’re weird.
In certain cases, this fear exists in situations where you’ll be placed in the spotlight, like giving talks, presentations or leading a roundtable discussion at work or school. Placed in a situation like that, people who suffer from social anxiety disorder develop physical symptoms of anxiety like faster heart rates, palpitations, shaking, sweating, nausea, and in severe situations, a panic attack.
It might be difficult to distinguish being socially awkward and having actual social anxiety disorder and as such, here are three features that tend to be diagnosed with the latter: symptoms you possess cannot be a result of another mental health condition, your anxiety is mostly born out of social situations, and that your main symptom is the extreme avoidance of social situations.
If you feel like you suffer from these symptoms, it’s best to approach a psychiatrist as soon as possible in order to avoid complicated problems in both your personal and professional life.