Social Anxiety is the dread of interacting and being with other people because of the fear of being judged negatively by others which also leads to avoidance of the situation at all cost. This fear leads to feelings of depression, inadequacy, worthlessness, poor self esteem, isolation and loneliness. People with Social Anxiety Disorder may realize that their thoughts and beliefs are irrational, but can't overcome this.
People with Social Anxiety Disorder experience a great deal of
distress and anxiety when doing the following actions:
Being introduced to other people
Going around the room and having to say something in front of other people
Being the center of attention
Talking to someone of importance (teacher, boss, doctor)
Being watched while doing something
Calling someone you don't know on the phone
Asking someone out on a date
Giving a presentation
These are only a few of the more common situations that may
cause emotional distress for someone with social anxiety.
Other symptoms of social anxiety are repetitive negative thoughts prior to the anxiety provoking situation and significant self critical thoughts after performing the activity. A person may relive the situation hundreds of times in their head and critique every word and movement of themselves and others. They will be harsh and put down themselves that they did not do it "right" or think they looked like an "idiot."
Do you have social anxiety or are you just shy?
The difference between having social anxiety and shyness is whether or not you participate in the event that causes the anxiety or not. People with social anxiety avoid the situations at all cost or endures them with high levels of distress. Shyness is a personality trait and is not always seen as a negative thing. A person with social anxiety disorder endure a great deal of anxiety and would never describe their situation as a positive trait. Not all people who have social anxiety disorder are shy. Some client after treatment enjoy being the center of attention and going to social gatherings.