What is Social Anxiety Disorder and What’s It Like to Experience?

Anxiety disorders are the most common types of mental illness on the planet. But, there are different types of anxiety disorders that have unrelated characteristics and symptoms. One type of anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, affects over 12% of U.S. citizens. So, what is social anxiety disorder and what is it like to experience it?

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

As with all anxiety disorders, people with social anxiety disorder experience immense levels of anxiety. Social anxiety disorder is also referred to as “social phobia”, and presents symptoms of increased anxiety in social settings. So, those who live with this condition may experience extreme anxiety when they’re around large groups of people and/or have feelings of intense fear in certain situations. The consequences of this anxiety and fear is avoidance of social settings, shyness, and other symptoms that can debilitate daily life.

Some Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder

Identifying some of the symptoms of social anxiety disorder may help you to determine whether or not this condition is something you or a loved one is experiencing. Symptoms of this condition typically occur in social settings and can include:

  • feelings of panic and panic disorders
  • fear of panic attacks and being panicked in social settings
  • avoiding situations or events that may lead to anxiety
  • fear and panic of others’ judgment
  • avoidance of making eye contact
  • difficulties with speaking in public and to strangers
  • low self-esteem and self-confidence
  • feeling awkwardness and embarrassment when in social situations

Obviously, having to deal with the above symptoms whenever around others is cause for worry, and can seriously debilitate one’s life. Furthermore, these symptoms can also interfere negatively with current and potential relationships. This is why many people who suffer from this disorder may also live with concurring mental health issues like depression disorders, anxiety, and others.

What is it Like to Experience Social Anxiety?

Symptoms of this disorder may differ from person to person. However, there is a generalized experience of physical symptoms that people living with this condition can expect. Some physical symptoms of social anxiety can include:

  • feeling nauseous
  • racing heartbeat
  • stiffening of the muscles
  • trouble breathing
  • sweating
  • blushing
  • inability to think clearly

These physical symptoms can occur during any type of social experience. For example, when interacting with strangers, going on dates, using public transportation or restrooms, being at parties, going to work or school, etc.

Treatment for Social Anxiety

Fortunately, those living with this mental health condition can benefit from psychiatric treatment such as psychotherapy and medication. With treatment, people suffering from the symptoms of this type of mental health condition can manage and reduce symptoms. This way, they can begin to live a life free of the debilitating effects of this disorder.

Delray Center for Healing offers treatment for those living with all kinds of mental health disorders, including social anxiety disorder. Learn more about our approach to treating anxiety disorders on our website and contact us today for a free consultation with one of our specialists.