Social Anxiety Symptoms & Triggers

Social Anxiety SymptomsMost people feel shy or awkward in social situations from time to time. But when you experience excessive self consciousness and overwhelming anxiety in everyday social situations, you may have social anxiety disorder.

Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is an anxiety disorder with symptoms of overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation — such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others — or, in its most severe form, may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people.  –Source

If you think you may be suffering from social anxiety, here is a list of social anxiety symptoms…

Common Triggers & Symptoms: Social Anxiety Disorder

Here are some common triggers that cause distress for someone with social anxiety:

Going to parties or other social gatherings
-Being introduced to new people
-Making small talk
-Using the phone
-Using Facebook
-Taking tests or exams
-Going on a date
-Speaking up in class or in a meeting
-Being the center of attention
-Being called on in class
-Eating or drinking in public
-Writing in public (such as writing checks)
-Being watched while doing something
-Using public bathrooms
-Performing on stage
Public speaking
-Talking with “important” people or authority figures (teachers, bosses, police, etc)
-Being teased or criticized
Going to the gym
Waiting in lines
Getting a haircut
-Being introduced to other people
-Making eye contact
Being assertive
Fear of confrontation

Social anxiety can be limited to one specific social situation, such as sitting with coworkers at lunch, or it can be broad, where the sufferer experiences anxiety around just about everyone except for those closest to him or her.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder (Social phobia)

When I was in college, I hated the first day of the semester. I would worry and fret over whether the professor would make us go around the room and introduce ourselves. I would work myself up so badly with anxiety, that by the time class started, I would be a panicky mess. My hands would sweat, I would feel myself shaking, my heart would race. I would get horrible feelings of depersonalization, as though I was seeing myself from a distance. I could feel a lump in my throat and I was sure I would not be able to speak, or if I tried, I would throw up.

Physical symptoms often accompany the intense anxiety of social phobia and include blushing, palpitations, cold or hot flashes, profuse sweating, trembling, panic attacks, nausea, and difficulty talking.  –Source

There are emotional symptoms of social anxiety disorder, such as:

-Fear and anxiety of being closely watched or judged in front of others, especially those you don’t know
-Worrying that others will notice or figure out that you are anxious
-Intense anxiety and self consciousness in day to day social situations
-Intense fear that you will embarrass or humiliate yourself in front of others in social situations
-Excessive worrying before an upcoming social event for days, weeks, or even months

And there are behavioral symptoms of social anxiety disorder, including:

-Being quiet or staying in the background in social situations so people won’t notice you
-Avoidance of social situations to such an extent that it disrupts your life or limits your activities
-Drinking alcohol before social situations to calm your nerves or give you courage
-The need to always have a safe person with you in social situations.

Most sufferers realize their fears are unreasonable and excessive. They know it doesn’t make rational sense, especially if they used to be able to do the things they now can’t. The anxiety and intense worrying about doing social things makes day to day living very hard. That they feel powerless to do anything about it only makes the suffering worse. Social anxiety sufferers want to feel “normal” socially, they want to have friends and be involved and comfortable in social situations.

As a new mom in a new town I wanted very badly to fit in and make friends with other new moms. But my social anxiety made simple interactions and basic communication very difficult. I had trouble making and sustaining eye contact, and had panic attacks in small group settings. It got to a point where I couldn’t remember how to have a natural conversation. I felt very different from the other mothers and I hated this. Although I’d battled social anxiety disorder for years, I remembered back to a time when conversation came naturally and I didn’t have thees bizarre feelings. I was very sad and distressed that being social was so hard for me.

The other thing I now find strange about my situation is that while I had so many social anxiety symptoms, I didn’t actually seek help for it at the time.

If you find you have social anxiety symptoms, you really can benefit from getting help. You can choose to work on your own (self treatment) or with a therapist. I have had a lot of success with and recommend Social Anxiety Secrets by Dr. Todd Snyder. I also have used self hypnosis for social anxiety– especially before going into a feared social situation. The key is to find something that works for you, and then use it consistently.

The more you work on social anxiety, the better it gets.

I wish you peace,
Jill G.

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