Social anxiety disorder, sometimes referred to as a social phobia, is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by extreme fear, distress, and anxiety in social settings. It’s important to note that being naturally more shy, reserved, or introverted is not the same thing as having social anxiety. While people with social anxiety may or may not exhibit shyness in social situations, it’s the uncontrollable fear, anxiety, and subsequent avoidance of social situations that differentiates someone with a social phobia from someone who’s simply a bit more introverted.
The symptoms of social anxiety are persistent, debilitating, and can deeply affect the lives of the patients who struggle from this condition, impacting their relationships, their confidence, and their ability to perform at work, in school, or in everyday situations.
Types Of Social Anxiety Symptoms
There are many different symptoms that someone with social anxiety may experience as a result of the condition, either acutely or on a more chronic basis. These symptoms of social anxiety can typically be divided into three main categories: physical symptoms, emotional or behavioral symptoms, and social avoidance. Patients may experience any combination of symptoms from one, some, or all of these categories, and the severity of those symptoms often varies on a case-by-case basis as well!
In general, here are the most common social anxiety symptoms.
Emotional & Behavioral Symptoms Of Social Anxiety
Most people with a social phobia experience emotional symptoms as a result of the condition, and these symptoms can be brought on by engaging in a social situation or, in some cases, at even the thought of potentially engaging in a social situation. Patients with a social phobia often struggle with many of the following emotional symptoms on a regular basis and in a way that, for many, significantly decreases their quality of life and deeply impacts their relationships:
- Fear of social situations (and potential judgement you may receive)
- Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
- Intense fear of talking with strangers
- Worrying for days or weeks before an event
- Expecting negative results or consequences from a social situation
- Experiencing intense fear or anxiety during social situations
- Worrying that others will notice your anxiety/nerves/discomfort
- Analysis of your performance and identification of flaws in your interactions after a social situation
Physical Symptoms Of Social Anxiety
Although emotional symptoms are some of the most common symptoms experienced by patients with social anxiety, many people experience physical symptoms as a result of the condition while in social situations as well, such as:
- Increased heart rate
- Blushing or flushing of the face and/or neck
- Nausea or digestive discomfort
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Difficulty catching your breath
- That “blank mind” feeling
Social Anxiety & Avoidance
It’s perfectly normal for people to get nervous in certain social situations, such as someone who’s worried about an upcoming interview for a job or dreading a class presentation. When you find yourself taking measures to avoid social situations because of the intense fear, discomfort, or duress these anticipated events cause you, however, it’s possible that social anxiety is at play.
Many patients with social anxiety find themselves struggling with some form of avoidance, whether that’s avoiding a situation where they may be the center of attention, avoiding doing something or speaking to people in a social situation out of fear of embarrassment, or taking more extreme measures to avoid a social situation completely (such as dropping a mandatory class mid-semester due to fear about the final presentation or failing to show up for a job interview because you’re afraid you’ll humiliate yourself).
These actions can have a direct impact on their relationships, their jobs, and their overall quality of life, so finding a healthy way to manage the symptoms of social anxiety is crucial for anyone who struggles with this disorder!
Social Anxiety Study In Tampa
At Olympian Clinical Research we understand the deep impact that social anxiety can have on patients and their loved ones, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to help patients who struggle with this condition find an effective, long term solution for coping with their social anxiety and managing the symptoms of this disorder so that they can live a happier, healthier life!
Over the next few months we’ll be enrolling for a clinical trial designed specifically for patients who struggle with social anxiety, and we urge anyone who suffers from this condition to contact our Tampa office for more information about the details of that study.