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Social Anxiety (Phobia)

Social Anxiety is the experience of fear and/or anxiety in social situations in which people fear they may embarrass themselves or make a fool of themselves in some way.

Many people can experience some form of anxiety when in a social situation. We all know the nervous anticipation we feel when we have to stand up in front of a group to speak or give a presentation or when walking into a social gathering where we don't know many people.

There can be varying degrees of social anxiety. A diagnosis of social anxiety is made if the fear and anxiety is effecting us to a degree that it is debilitating and restricting our life. For instance, if we feel fear and anxiety/panic only when we have to give a presentation in front of a group, (and we are not required to give presentations on a regular basis), then we would have a specific phobia of public speaking If we fear we will embarrass ourselves or make a fool of ourselves, in some or all areas of our life, to the point where we experience intense anxiety and/or panic then a diagnosis of Social Anxiety could be given.

Common experiences and fears relating to Social Anxiety are :

  • fear of embarrassing ourselves in some way
  • feelings of self-doubt
  • feeling uncertain and insecure
  • fear of embarrassing ourselves in some way
  • feelings of self-doubt
  • feeling uncertain and insecure
  • fear of doing, saying, acting the wrong way
  • fear that others are scrutinising us or judging us in a negative way

 

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The fears of Social Anxiety include:

"What if they see my hands shake?" "What if I spill my food?"
"What if my voice trembles or I make a fool of myself?"
"What if I say the wrong thing?" "What if I trip when I walk in?"

As a result of these feelings, many people find that they start to avoid certain situations or endue intense anxiety in social situations. These include:

People with social anxiety can have panic attacks specific to their fear in social situations and can experience symptoms of anxiety.

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