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Do You Have Social Anxiety? Recognising the Signs

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Social Anxiety

Anxiety can take many forms and impact individuals in different ways. For some, it may manifest as social anxiety - a condition where people experience intense feelings of fear and nervousness when placed in social situations. Social anxiety can be debilitating, making even the most routine interactions a daunting task. Recognising the signs and symptoms of social anxiety can support people to address the issue and receive the appropriate support. It's important to note that social anxiety is different from shyness, as it can significantly impact daily life and wellbeing. If you believe you may have social anxiety, it's important to seek support and learn coping strategies to manage these symptoms. 

What is social anxiety? 

Social anxiety is characterised by an excessive and persistent fear of being judged, scrutinised, or evaluated negatively by others in social situations. People with social anxiety often worry about how they come across to others, which can lead to an anxious and uncomfortable feeling in social situations. This fear can significantly impact a person's wellbeing and quality of life, making it difficult to engage in normal social interactions and activities. Social anxiety can range in severity from mild to severe, with some people experiencing it in specific situations, such as public speaking or meeting new people, while others may struggle with it in all social situations. Understanding what social anxiety is and the signs and symptoms associated with it is an essential first step in getting help and learning to manage the condition. 

Signs and symptoms of social anxiety 

People with social anxiety may experience some or many of the following symptoms: 

  • Constantly worrying about social situations 

  • Feeling uncomfortable or self-conscious around other people 

  • Difficulty engaging with conversations 

  • Feeling anxious in crowds  

  • Feeling anxious when meeting new people 

  • An intense fear of embarrassment, humiliation, or being judged negatively by others 

  • Avoiding social situations 


Common physical symptoms of social anxiety include: 

  • Sweating 

  • Trembling 

  • Nausea 

  • Rapid heartbeat or difficulty breathing 

  • Avoiding or struggling to make eye contact 


Personal impacts of social anxiety 

Because of these symptoms it’s understandable that people with social anxiety often have a strong desire to isolate themselves or stay at home, rather than attend social events or participate in activities that involve interacting with others. This is where social anxiety can significantly impact daily life and overall wellbeing.


Here are some ways in which social anxiety may affect daily life: 

1. Difficulty in forming and maintaining relationships: People with social anxiety often find it challenging to form new relationships and maintain existing ones due to their fear of being judged or rejected. 

2. Professional setbacks: Social anxiety can impact performance in professional settings, such as during interviews, presentations, or team meetings. This can lead to missed opportunities and reduced career growth. 

3. Avoidance of social situations: People with social anxiety often avoid social situations, such as parties, gatherings, or even going out to public places like lead to feelings of isolation. 

4. Physical symptoms: Social anxiety can cause physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking, rapid heartbeat, and nausea, which can interfere with daily tasks and activities and cause people to avoid social situations further out of fear of being judged for these physical symptoms.   

5. Emotional toll: Social anxiety can take an emotional toll, leading to feelings of embarrassment, shame, and self-doubt. 

 Social Anxiety


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