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Social Anxiety Disorder (also called Social Phobia) is when certain social or performance situations (e.g., meeting new people or giving a speech) are avoided due to substantial fear of being judged or embarrassed in front of other people. When exposed to a social situation, someone with Social Anxiety Disorder is so afraid of being negatively evaluated or judged that it significantly interferes with his or her ability to live a normal life. This can cause him or her to avoid everyday social situations, like going shopping, speaking up in class, using a public bathroom, or participating in gym class.

(TeenMentalHealth.org)

Causes

Although it may feel like you’re the only one with this problem, social anxiety or social phobia is actually quite common. Many people struggle with these fears. But the situations that trigger the symptoms of social anxiety disorder can be different.

 

Some people experience anxiety in most social and performance situations, a condition known as generalized social anxiety disorder. For other people with social phobia, anxiety is connected with specific social situations, such as speaking to strangers, eating at restaurants, or going to parties.

 

The following situations are often stressful for people with social anxiety disorder:

  • Meeting new people
  • Being the center of attention
  • Being watched while doing something
  • Making small talk
  • Public speaking
  • Performing on stage
  • Being teased or criticized
  • Talking with “important” people or authority figures
  • Being called on in class
  • Going on a date
  • Making phone calls
  • Using public bathrooms
  • Taking exams
  • Eating or drinking in public
  • Speaking up in a meeting
  • Attending parties or other social gatherings

(HelpGuide.org)

 

People with social anxiety disorder tend to:

  • Be very anxious about being with other people and have a hard time talking to them, even though they wish they could
  • Be very self-conscious in front of other people and feel embarrassed
  • Be very afraid that other people will judge them
  • Worry for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
  • Stay away from places where there are other people
  • Have a hard time making friends and keeping friends
  • Blush, sweat, or tremble around other people
  • Feel nauseous or sick to their stomach when with other people.

(National Institute of Mental Health)