What Indicates Social Anxiety Symptoms?

Symptoms of social anxiety are typically caused by a fear of social situations. It is possible to significantly lessen your symptoms if you have the appropriate coping mechanisms.


Being among other people might make you feel as though you are on stage all the time, with the crowd waiting for you to make a mistake. It is tough to connect with others when you cannot participate in conversations because of shame fears. It can be frustratingly common for those who suffer from social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, to have these ideas. If you suffer from social anxiety, you could frequently feel alone, but you are not. In fact, social anxiety disorder is thought to affect 12.1% of adults at some point in their lives.

Panic episodes can also be brought on by social anxiety disorder, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). However, managing social anxiety can be made much simpler by becoming aware of your own symptoms and the things that set them off.


Shyness versus social anxiety

Some people mistake social anxiety for timidity. Shyness is better defined as a personality trait, even though social anxiety disorder is a diagnosable condition. Shyness does not usually interfere with day-to-day living the way social anxiety disorder does. For instance, you can discover that social anxiety interferes with your relationships or career. While shy people do occasionally avoid social situations, those who suffer from social anxiety disorder may do so more frequently and as a result, face more disruptions in their lives.

Additionally, having social anxiety disorder does not automatically equate to shyness. The majority of the time, you may not feel nervous around others and only get nervous in specific circumstances, like going for a walk in a public area, giving a speech, or conversing with strangers.


Physical and psychological signs of social anxiety

Even if you are aware that a fear is illogical, it may still be able to cause discomfort. The first step in learning how to handle social anxiety disorder is often being able to recognize its symptoms.

According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)Trusted Source, 7.1% of adult Americans suffer from social anxiety disorder annually. SAD affects women somewhat more frequently than it does males.


Nobody experiences social anxiety disorder in the same way. The physical and psychological indicators and symptoms listed below may help you determine whether you suffer from social anxiety.


Symptoms of physical social anxiety

Anxiety-related stress can have negative physical effects on the body. This is sometimes described as having worry in the shoulders, forehead, or stomach.

The following are a few bodily signs of social anxiety disorder:

  • lightheadedness or fainting

  • tense muscles 

  • flushing 

  • heart palpitations

  • breathing heavily or having trouble breathing

  • vomiting or nausea 

  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

  • profuse perspiration trembling or shaking

This list is not meant to replace a diagnosis, but it can help you determine if you have social anxiety disorder.

These symptoms may occasionally worsen your social anxiety disorder. For example, blushing may exacerbate your humiliation if you believe it is attracting unwelcome attention.


Symptoms of psychological social anxiety

In addition to psychological symptoms that impact your thoughts and emotions, social anxiety disorder can also cause psychological indications and symptoms. These could appear as:

  • Apprehension before going to work, school, or social gatherings

  • Panic, tension, or terror in social situations

  • “Brain fog” during dialogue

  • Invasive ideas regarding social circumstances

  • Feelings of social exclusion or loneliness 

  • Weariness following socialization 

  • Shyness to speak up for fear of upsetting others 

  • Inability to maintain eye contact 

  • Low self-esteem


It can be lonely to suffer with social anxiety disorder, but you are not by yourself. You too may learn how to handle the symptoms of social anxiety, as many others have done. Although no two mental health journeys are the same, it could be beneficial to approach your symptoms patiently and with self-compassion.


Social anxiety disorder types

The symptoms of social anxiety disorder can vary from person to person. You may experience mild, moderate, or severe symptoms if you have social anxiety disorder. Additionally, your symptoms may result in a minor, moderate, or severe impairment of your ability to function on a daily basis.

According to NIMH, a Harvard University-led survey conducted between 2001 and 2003 estimated that among American adults suffering from social anxiety disorder:


  • 31.3% of them showed mild disability.

  • Moderate impairment was present in 38.8%.

  • 29.9% had significant disability.


Additionally, you might just feel fear or anxiety in a certain kind of social setting, or you might feel it in a variety of social settings. Additionally, certain anxieties may be a part of social anxiety disorder at times. These may consist of fearing:

  • Speaking in front of an audience

  • Interacting with strangers

  • Using public restrooms

  • Eating in front of people

  • Using a phone while others are around

  • Being observed while working


Conditions associated with social anxiety disorder

90% of individuals with social anxiety disorder also have a co-occurring condition, which means they are dealing with two conditions at the same time. For example, it is not unusual for someone with social anxiety disorder to struggle with depression or substance abuse.

Due to their similar symptoms, it might also be simple to mistake social anxiety disorder for another illness. The following conditions share symptoms with social anxiety:

  • Major depressive disorder 

  • Bodily dysmorphia 

  • Avoidant personality disorder 

  • Panic disorder

  • Agoraphobia 

  • Generalized anxiety disorder 

  • Separation anxiety disorder

  • Particular phobia


If you exhibit symptoms of social anxiety, your therapist might also wish to rule out some of these illnesses. They can then ensure that you are receiving the best care possible.


Does social anxiety disorder affect me?

It can be helpful to understand how social anxiety disorder is diagnosed by professionals if you are unsure if you have it or not.

When determining whether a diagnosis is appropriate for you, mental health providers consult the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria, which is a list of symptoms.

Specific diagnostic standards for social anxiety disorder are included in the DSM-5. To find out if you are exhibiting signs of social anxiety disorder, a therapist may quiz you about the following:

  • Do you frequently worry that you will make a fool of yourself?

  • Do you have anxiety in specific social situations?

  • Do you shy away from social situations due to anxiety?

  • Is it mostly in social situations or when you imagine yourself in social situations that you get anxious?

  • Are social interactions with strangers or the potential for judgment among your fears?

  • Do social circumstances trigger panic attacks for you?

  • Do you find that even knowing your dread is unfounded, you just can not seem to quit worrying?

  • Does your everyday life—including relationships, employment, education, and hobbies—be badly impacted by anxiety?

  • Has six months or more passed since your anxiousness started?

  • Do you suffer from any further illnesses or mental health issues?

  • Do you take any drugs or other substances?

Your social anxiety disorder might only be of the performance type if it is limited to performing in front of others or public speaking.


Signs of social anxiety in kids

The DSM-5 states that between the ages of 8 and 15, 75% of Americans who suffer from social anxiety disorder develop it. Do children’s symptoms of social anxiety differ from those of adults’?


Yes, to put it briefly. There are some important differences in determining whether a child has social anxiety disorder. Remember that the DSM-5 states that in order for a kid to be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, they must be able to build relationships that are suitable for their age.

In order to determine whether a child has social anxiety disorder, you should ask them the following two questions:

  • When kids hang out with friends their own age or only grownups, do they get anxious? A young person with social anxiety will feel uneasy among their peers.

  • Do they weep, act out, freeze, run away from people, or hide in social situations? These symptoms might not indicate social anxiety in adults, but they might be important indicators of the illness in kids.

Another significant distinction is that children might not understand that dread associated with social anxiety is unwarranted, but adults typically do. It may be more difficult for kids to distinguish between a fear that is reasonable in a certain circumstance and one that is exaggerated.


Now what?

If you believe that your social anxiety is preventing you from going about your daily life, you may need to get help. For instance, you may believe that your social anxiety prevents you from forming deep friendships or moving forward in your career.

A therapist or other mental health specialist can provide invaluable assistance in managing social anxiety disorder. Together, you can design a strategy that targets particular issues and symptoms associated with your social anxiety.

Several strategies exist for handling the symptoms of social anxiety. Watch our videos on Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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