What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is a type of anxiety disorder where a person feels extremely anxious or fearful in social situations. It involves a strong fear of being judged, embarrassed, or humiliated by others.
People with social anxiety may worry excessively about being watched, evaluated, or criticized by others, even in everyday situations like speaking in public, attending parties, or participating in conversations.
What are the symptoms of Social Anxiety?
Those with social anxiety often experience physical symptoms like:
- A rapid heartbeat
- Feeling nauseous
Those suffering from social anxiety may also have negative thoughts about themselves, believing that they are inadequate, uninteresting, or unworthy of social acceptance. As a result, they may avoid social situations or, even worse, endure them with great distress.
What’s the difference between Social Anxiety, General Anxiety & Performance Anxiety?
Social anxiety, general anxiety, and performance anxiety are three distinct types of anxiety disorders. Broadly, Social anxiety specifically focuses on social interactions and the fear of being negatively perceived by others, but here’s a simple explanation of the differences between the three:
- Social Anxiety: Social anxiety, or social phobia, is characterized by intense fear and discomfort in social situations. People with social anxiety may worry excessively about being judged, embarrassed, or humiliated by others. It primarily revolves around social interactions and the fear of negative evaluation by peers. Social anxiety often leads to avoidance of social situations or enduring them with great distress.
- General Anxiety: General anxiety, also known as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), involves excessive and persistent worrying about various aspects of life, such as work, health, relationships, and everyday situations. People with general anxiety tend to worry about a wide range of issues and find it challenging to control their anxiety. This type of anxiety is not specific to social situations and can affect different areas of a person’s life.
- Performance Anxiety: Performance anxiety, or stage fright, refers to the fear or apprehension experienced when performing or speaking in front of an audience or in high-pressure situations. It is a type of anxiety focused specifically on performance-related activities, such as giving a presentation, performing on stage, or participating in sports competitions. Performance anxiety can cause physical symptoms, nervousness, and self-doubt, hindering a person’s ability to perform at their best.
While there may be some overlap between these types of anxiety, they have distinct focuses and triggers. Understanding these differences can help individuals seek appropriate support and strategies for managing their specific anxieties.
Social Anxiety Treatments
Treatment for social anxiety may include therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps individuals challenge and modify their anxious thoughts and behaviors. Medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may also be prescribed in certain cases. With appropriate support and treatment, individuals with social anxiety can learn to manage their fears and lead fulfilling social lives.
Where can I learn more about Social Anxiety?
We recommend the following resources to learn more about Social Anxiety: