Social anxiety symptoms may occur when one is suffering from social phobia or social anxiety disorder. This condition is medically described as the extreme fear of becoming anxious or even possibly getting humiliated in front of the public.
Specifically, people who suffer from this disorder fear that they may get embarrassed in front of other people.
Therefore, they tend to think that others are better at public speaking, or hanging out with others at social events like parties.
Consequently, they focus on every small mistake they might commit while in front of others, and they might even blow them out of proportion in their imagination.
To a person with social phobia, a simple activity like blushing in front of someone may seem very embarrassing so they will imagine how all eyes are focusing on them.
These people also tend to have specific fears, such as taking part in a public speaking activity or even raising a concern with their boss at work.
However, sometimes it’s simply a generalized fear, such as that of speaking in public, especially when it involves addressing strangers.
Social Anxiety and Shyness
It’s very common for people to confuse shyness with social phobia. Well, in some rare situations, the person suffering from this disorder may be scared of eating out, using a public restroom, or even speaking on the phone when others are present.
Therefore, even though people tend to confuse this disorder with shyness, the two conditions are not the same.
Even though individuals who are shy may be uneasy when around others, they don’t experience the extreme fears faced by people who suffer from a social anxiety disorder.
To make it clear, individuals who are shy don’t always avoid social situations as much as someone with social phobia does.
In fact, those with social phobia may not be shy at all. Their fears are based on certain situations, such as walking down the aisle in front of a large audience or speaking in public.
Such conditions give them intense fear as opposed to just being around people.
Therefore, social anxiety can disrupt one’s career, social relationship, and even ordinary life. In fact, they may undergo a considerable amount of frustration before facing their fears.
If there’s a chance to avoid it, they will do their best to avoid the feared situation.
And even though they may face the feared situation, they will feel extremely anxious beforehand so they may not relax throughout the situation.
Even afterward, the unpleasant feeling will linger in their minds, as they wonder what others might have seen in them, thought about them or even said about them.
Social Anxiety Signs & Symptoms
Now we have it that by just getting a little bit nervous in a social situation doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re suffering from social anxiety.
In fact, many people will be self-conscious about themselves, but they don’t let it get in their way, to the extent of disrupting their daily activities.
On the other hand, social anxiety interferes with one’s daily activity, plus it causes a lot of stress.
For instance, people who are not used to speaking in public may get the jitters just before the speech. However, if they are suffering from social anxiety symptoms, they will begin worrying weeks ahead of time.
They might even call in to pretend they are sick, and that they won’t make it. But even if they make it, they will get so nervous during the speech, to the point of shaking and unable to continue with the speech.
(a) Emotional Symptoms
-These people will be very self-conscious and anxious when in front of others
– They will worry for days, weeks or even months ahead of the situation they are supposed to face
– They fear that they will be judged, spoken of or watched by others
– They fear that they will behave in a way that humiliates or even embarrasses themselves
– They fear that others watching them will notice their nervousness
(b) The Physical Symptoms that Characterize Social Anxiety
– They may blush or develop a red face
– They may experience shortness of breath, to the point of not being able to talk properly
– They will experience butterflies, nausea, or even stomach upset
– They may begin to tremble/shake or even experience a shaky voice while speaking
– They may experience tightness in the chest or racing heartbeat
– They will experience intense sweat or hot flushes
– They may even feel dizzy to the point of fainting
(c) Behavioral Symptoms of Social Phobia
– They will always try to avoid social situations to the point of disrupting their activities and lives
– They will always feel the need to tag a friend along while attending a meeting
– They will always try to hide in the background so that they don’t get noticed by others in public
– They may use drugs beforehand, i.e. alcohol to soothe their nerves before speaking in public
Social Anxiety Symptoms in Children
There’s nothing wrong when a child is shy. However, children who suffer from a social phobia will experience extreme distress over daily activities such as playing with age-mates, speaking to adults, reading in class, performing in front of others, taking tests, etc.
These kids might not even want to go to school in the first place.
How Common is This Situation?
In the US, it is considered the second most common type of disorder after specific phobias. It is also seen as the third most common mental disorder in people who live in the US, coming after depression and alcohol abuse.
Even though it can occur in adulthood, it mostly manifests in adolescent or early adulthood stage. It is also more commonly experienced in women than men.
Furthermore, people who suffer from this disorder will admit that they are experiencing extreme disorder and unreasonable fears. However, this feature may not be available in children.
Social anxiety symptoms present themselves in the same way across all types of people. However, treatment is available in the form of self-help or seeking professional treatment in the shape of therapy.
Therefore, if you’re suffering from this situation, you should not hold back but seek treatment as soon as possible.