For many years, people who were uncomfortable in social situations or avoided them all together were largely misunderstood. Often this group of people were referred to as "shy" or "loner" by others who didn't understand the signs of social anxiety. Thankfully, within the past few decades, this condition has received the attention it deserves, giving the people who struggle with this disorder more ways to find community and support. The website for the Social Anxiety Association defines social anxiety as the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people. These fears are typically accompanied by physical and emotional symptoms as well.
According to the Social Anxiety Institute, social anxiety is the third largest mental health problem, experienced by millions of people all over the world, outnumbered by depression and alcoholism. Even though so many people are living with social anxiety, not much is known about the exact cause. That being said, Healthline reported that current research supports the idea that it is caused by a combination of environmental factors and genetics."
According to the odds, either you or someone you know lives with this condition. These 11 signs of social anxiety will give you insight into the world of this disorder.
1. You Avoid Being The Center Of Attention
If you go out of your way to make sure you're not the start of the show, you know how uncomfortable you feel when all eyes are on you. Making efforts to avoid being the center of attention is a sign of social anxiety, according to Mayo Clinic.
2. You Are Easily Embarrassed
Feeling embarrassed by every day things can cause a strong stress response for those with social anxiety. As the website for the Social Anxiety Association explained, the condition is triggered when are easily embarrassed, causing blushing and shaking in the moment.
3. You Sweat . . . A Lot
People with social anxiety can experience perfuse sweating when in uncomfortable or unwanted social situations, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. This symptom can occur alone or with other physical symptoms of the condition.
4. You Avoid Introductions
Meeting new people can be fun and exciting for some, but for those with social anxiety, the situation is met with dread. Being introduced to new people causes those with social anxiety emotional distress, according to the Social Anxiety Institute's website.
5. You Fear Judgement
I would guess that, to some degree, all people worry from time to time about being judged by others. However, if the fear of being judged is persistent, excessive, and unreasonable, it's a sign of social anxiety disorder, according to Psych Central.
6. Your Heart Beats Fast
When thinking of or participating in certain social interactions causes your heart rate to increase, it's a sign of social anxiety, as Healthline explained on their website.
7. You Suffer From Muscle Tension
Those knots in your shoulders are trying to tell you something. According to Health magazine, muscle tension or clenching often goes hand-in-hand with anxiety disorders.
8. You Use Alcohol To Cope With Social Situations
Someone with social anxiety may use what's called "partial avoidance" in situations where they must be present. One form of partial avoidance is using alcohol to cope with the anxious feelings they are experiencing, as Psychology Today pointed out.
9. You Analyze Interactions
There are plenty of times I wish I could go back in time and handle a situation differently, but an ongoing fear of thinking you said or did the wrong thing is entirely different. As Mayo Clinic pointed out, people with social anxiety spend time after a social situation analyzing their performance and finding flaws in interactions.
10. You Have A Fear Of Public Speaking
Most people will tell you that making a presentation or giving a speech is not at the top of their list for favorite things to do. But having a prolonged physical response to public speaking is a sign of social anxiety, as the Social Anxiety Association explained.
11. You Suffer From Nausea & Stomach Pains
Physical symptoms can take many forms when you struggle with social anxiety. A common response to situations that trigger social anxiety is feelings nauseous or having stomach pains, as the Anxiety and Depression Association of America pointed out.