Social anxiety is the intense fear of social situations that causes a significant problem in your life. It tends to be triggered by situations that can be defined as either “social” (i.e. parties, lunch breaks, dates) or “performance” (work performance review, giving a speech or presentation, taking an exam).
People who suffer from social anxiety tend to feel as if they will be scrutinised and judged negatively by others and that they will be humiliated or feel extremely embarrassed.
Sometimes the situation can be so anxiety provoking, that when in the situation the person feels intense anxiety, it can escalate to a full blown panic attack. People with social anxiety recognise that the anxiety or fear is irrational but feel powerless to stop it.
What happens if you have social anxiety?
As a result of the crippling anxiety and fear, people generally end up avoiding the situation that causes the anxiety. Obviously this avoidance can cause significant impairment and problems in someones life, and lead people to feel very upset and distressed about the anxiety and the problems it causes.
For a formal diagnosis to be made the symptoms have to be present for six months or longer and the individual must be over the age of 18 years old.
Approximately 15 million American adults age 18 years and over, or about 6.8 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have Social Anxiety.
If you think you may have social anxiety, take our Social Anxiety Self Test