Al Soor Specialist Clinic

Social Anxiety Disorder – Symptoms

Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is characterized by an intense fear of social situations and interactions. Symptoms can vary in severity but often include:

  1. Excessive self-consciousness: Individuals with social anxiety disorder are overly concerned about being judged negatively by others. They may constantly worry about embarrassing themselves or saying something inappropriate.
  2. Intense fear of social situations: People with SAD may avoid social gatherings, public speaking, or situations where they feel they may be the centre of attention. Even everyday activities like going to school, work, or the grocery store can provoke anxiety.
  3. Physical symptoms: Anxiety in social situations can manifest physically, leading to symptoms such as sweating, trembling, blushing, rapid heartbeat, nausea, dizziness, or difficulty breathing.
  4. Avoidance behaviour: Individuals with social anxiety disorder often go to great lengths to avoid situations that trigger their anxiety. This can lead to social isolation and difficulties in forming relationships or maintaining friendships.
  5. Negative self-talk: Those with SAD may engage in negative self-talk, constantly criticizing themselves and anticipating the worst possible outcomes in social situations.
  6. Difficulty speaking: Social anxiety can make it challenging to speak in front of others or even hold a conversation. Some individuals may freeze up, struggle to find the right words, or experience a racing mind that makes it hard to concentrate.
  7. Physical discomfort: Social anxiety can cause physical discomfort in social situations, such as feeling nauseous, having an upset stomach, or experiencing tension headaches.
  8. Post-event rumination: After a social interaction, individuals with SAD often replay the event in their minds, focusing on perceived mistakes or embarrassing moments. This rumination can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and self-doubt.
  9. Impairment in daily functioning: Social anxiety disorder can significantly impact various areas of life, including work, school, and relationships. It may lead to academic or career underachievement, difficulty advancing in one’s career, or problems forming intimate relationships.
  10. Co-occurring conditions: Social anxiety disorder often coexists with other mental health disorders, such as depression, generalized anxiety disorder, or substance abuse.

These symptoms can vary in intensity and may come and go over time. It’s essential for individuals experiencing these symptoms to seek help from a mental health professional, as effective treatments, including therapy and medication, are available for social anxiety disorder.