Being nervous, shy, or introverted doesn’t mean you have social anxiety. Those traits are very common, and quite normal. The primary difference between the discomfort of feeling shy and a social disorder is how it disrupts your ability to function normally, everyday.
Social anxiety is a clinical disorder that disrupts your daily life, which results in both physical and psychological challenges.
What’s It Like To Have Social Anxiety?
It’s frustrating. You struggle with common, daily tasks, that are routine and insignificant in the eyes of most people.
A good analogy for social anxiety is that feeling you get before walking into a huge job interview. Your heart is racing, you feel nervous, and worry about everything that can and will go wrong.
These strong feelings of anxiety are not limited to “big events”, however. They also become attached and associated with situations involving social interaction.
You may get an overwhelming sense of nervousness for:
- Answering the front door
- Walking into a grocery store
- Family gatherings
- Talking to someone you don’t know
- Making eye contact
- Going to work or school
Everyone will have different triggers, and levels of discomfort, but one common trait shared by people with social anxiety is avoidance. When you begin to alter your behavior, and avoid daily tasks, as a way to cope with anxiety it may be considered a disorder.
See Also: 10 ways to cope with anxiety
Social anxiety is more than just not wanting to be around people. It’s the emotional response to social situations like fear, nervousness, and anxiety that may result in complete avoidance of interaction with other people.
- Worrying about being embarrassed or humiliated
- Fear of being judged by others
- Fear of talking with strangers
- Concern over appearing anxious
- Fear of symptoms like sweating, or trembling due to nervousness
- Avoiding talking to people out of fear you may embarrass yourself
- Avoiding social situations where you’ll be center of attention
See Also: 5 habits that make you unhappy
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
Should You See A Doctor?
If social anxiety is interrupting your ability to function normally or complete daily tasks you should consult your doctor to discuss treatment options. Because social anxiety disorder interferes with your ability or willingness to socialize, it may also lead to depression and other mental health problems if you don’t seek treatment.
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