Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is an intense fear of being judged or humiliated in public. Such a condition arises when a person becomes extremely conscious and anxious of embarrassing himself or herself in social situations. As highlighted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), social phobia can become so severe that it can interfere in one’s work, school or daily activities.
Since social phobia results in one having excessive imagined fears, it is common for people living with it to feel as if they are under the scanner of others, at all times. Due to an increased self-consciousness, they might also have to grapple with specific fears such as the fear of public speaking.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), the condition has been diagnosed in approximately 15 million American adults. The typical age of onset of this condition is 13 years. As shyness is often misinterpreted as social anxiety, the current article highlights some of the common symptoms associated with the condition for a better understanding.
1. Feeling comfortable with selected people
People with social anxiety disorder feel comfortable only with a small group of people with whom they feel safe and understood. In comparison to others, going out, talking and chatting with these selected people makes them happy. However, at the same time, if they have to go out with the same set of people to a party comprising a number of unknown people, it may turn out to be an impossible task for them.
2. Fear of being judged
Visiting a public place or even stepping out of their room can make people with this disorder anxious. As opposed to meeting new people and making new friends, staying in their room or being with a few selected friends is heaven for them. Though such people are often aware of their shortcomings, they are unable to overcome the fear of being watched by everyone during public outings. This, in turn, makes them more stressed, fearful and unable to relax.
3. Fear of being embarrassed
Social anxiety disorder makes people imagine and think about being in embarrassing situations that are far from reality. They usually experience such emotions while going out with new people, meeting friends or heading to a social event. As a result, they often avoid mingling with people and could end up lonely.
Whenever people with social anxiety disorder interact with new people, they often end up judging themselves harshly for hours, even on the basis of a brief interaction. They can criticize themselves for various reasons, such as their manner of speaking, their language and how they might have been perceived by the other person. They are mostly inward-looking and self-conscious.
5. Specific phobias
Every person with a social phobia has a specific kind of fear. For some, this could be speaking in front of a group of people and for others, it can be writing or eating in public, or talking over the phone. The fears vary from person to person.
Social anxiety disorder is a treatable condition that can be overcome by seeking help from a professional. It is essential to do so since an untreated disorder can adversely impact both the life and relationships of the person. By overcoming the challenges of social anxiety disorder, one can undoubtedly witness marked changes in his or her life.
If you or someone you know is looking for a specialized treatment center for anxiety disorders or related mental health conditions, the Anxiety Treatment Advisors of Colorado can help. You can also call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-891-2539 or chat online with our experts who can assist you in getting information about the best anxiety disorders treatment centers in Colorado.