This article is a compilation of the primary social anxiety disorder symptoms that I’ve read about, seen posted on forums by others or experienced myself.
I’m sure you’ll have your own list of social phobia symptoms, too, and you can add to this post in the comments below if you’d like, with your specific symptoms.
Social Anxiety Defined
Someone with social anxiety/phobia lacks the ability to interact with people normally, i.e. being able to make eye contact normally, not freezing up or going quiet during conversations with others and not feeling anxious or uncomfortable inside.
Often people with social anxiety will also have these fears when at home alone, which can prevent someone from even leaving the house or talking on the phone, depending on severity and with whom they are interacting.
This often comes from a fear of being judged and also a mindset filled with self-judgement and a lack of self-acceptance or poor self-image.
Social Anxiety Disorder Symptoms List
Here is a general list of social anxiety disorder symptoms (mental, emotional and physical), though not limited to just these:
- Anxiety – usually constant but varying levels
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dry mouth
- Knowing consciously they have the problem, but unable to do anything to change their behavior
- Lack of self-acceptance or poor self-image
- Fear & difficulty speaking to others whether in-person or on the phone
- Lack of eye contact, looking down or away
- Depression from a sense of despair, not knowing how to overcome SA
- Anger/hatred towards outgoing or “extraverted” people
- Victimization i.e. blaming other people or external events for having SA
- Constant, negative thinking patterns related to being social (whether in social situation, or just thinking the situation)
I thought I’d compile a list of common situations where social anxiety/phobia comes about, and I’m sure I’ll be added to this list as I come across more.
Here’s a video I’ve done on social anxiety disorder symptoms and the ones I’ve struggled with:
Common Situations Where Social Phobia Arises
- Going shopping
- Walking on the street or in your own neighborhood
- Getting gas for the car
- Going to school or class
- Working with people
- Giving presentations (fear of public speaking)
- Group meetings at work
- Family functions
- Social functions/parties
- Going to the bathroom in a public place
- Riding a bus, train or plane
- Phone Conversations
- Going on dates
- Going to bars or clubs
- Eating at a restaurant
- Eating in front of others
…Basically anywhere there are people, but someone with SA might be more comfortable in certain situations than others.
Behaviors of Someone with SA
- Avoids going out – whether day or night
- Avoids answering the phone or the door
- Freezing up when around people
- Getting quiet or “shy”
- Stuttering speech
- Avoids eye contact or looks down
- Appears aloof or disinterested in conversations
- Acting too “nice” to accommodate others
- Inability to say “no” when asked to do something
- Never saying “yes” when invited out by others
It’s interesting to note the difference between panic disorder and social anxiety. Though very high levels of anxiety are generally experienced with social anxiety, individuals with social phobia don’t actually panic per say.
People with panic disorder generally seek medical help (i.e. go to the emergency room) right after a panic attack and fear they have a medical condition or are dying during an episode.
People with social anxiety alone, do not do this.
Treatment that Worked for Me:
The mainstay for my overcoming social anxiety was cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and the program “Overcoming Social Anxiety Step-by-Step” It really is the foundation that helped me to learn to manage and overcome my social anxiety.
I also do things like affirmation work, meditation and energy psychology to manage and control any social anxiety disorder symptoms that arise and maintain the mental healing.
I know that many people use medication like Xanax, Zoloft or Paxil to deal with their social anxiety.
I do not believe these are ever effective in treating social anxiety in the long term as they don’t address the root of the issue, which is negative belief system about oneself, others and being social.
I see how people may feel so much pain inside that they want medications temporarily but it seems that once the feelings go away with the use of the meds (and often they don’t work all that well) they become dependent on the medication just to get by.
I will expand on this in another article/post on treatments for social anxiety. I think doctors too readily hand out medications when they don’t even understand something like social anxiety and how it works, and often people just want to take a pill to “make it go away” instead of really supporting themselves by seeking therapeutic help.
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