Social Anxiety Disorder- Are You Just Shy?
Social anxiety is one of the most common disorders of 2018. It affects around 13% of Americans. Many people believe they have social anxiety, but rather they just have some form of moderate to severe shyness. There is a difference between social anxiety and shyness. The following article will help dispel some of the confusion. In the end, the following checklist should help you figure out if you actually have social anxiety.
If you do determine that you do have social anxiety, then do not worry. The first step of overcoming this disorder is recognising that you have it. Many people spend their whole life avoiding social situations and never living up to their full potential because of severe and crippling social anxiety.
Some Signs You Might Experience
Fear Of Social Gatherings
The most common manifestation of social anxiety is an intense fear of social situations. This goes beyond a fluttery feeling before any type of social situation, which is fairly common and perfectly normal. People with fear of social events can be so afraid that they actively avoid any type of social situation and usually display asocial behaviours.
An example of the type of fear being really socially anxious induces would include avoiding social events, parties, job interviews, or dates. If you got this type of anxiety, you might feel a little nervous before even a party, but they might manage their anxiety and go to the occasion but rather remain quiet, alone and withdrawn, waiting to just get out and back home to their place of comfort.
A socially anxious person might RSVP to a party, but then end up not going. This withdrawal only leads to further social isolation as the person slowly stops receiving invitations to social events.
Tremors When You Are With People
One sign that might be slightly less common in people with social anxiety are tremors during social interactions. Shaking hands are normally caused by some form of nervousness or anxiety. An example of this is having tremors when you meet someone you have a great deal of respect for finally.
Your face blushes
You might definitely not notice this yourself but this can be really embarrassing. A blushing face is another one of the positive symptoms of social anxiety. Imagine you looking lost during a relatively innocuous conversation with a person and that person repeatedly asking you if everything is fine.
Always Uninterested and Biased Towards Social Events?
Are you one who will never attend a social gathering and if probably you are persuaded into attending one, you are totally reserved and afraid of what you will do wrongly? If you are invited to make a speech, you start having thoughts such as “My voice will shake” or “I hope no one sees my hands shaking.” Or you have a biased view of a gathering such as “I’m so bad at social events, everyone else is so much better.”
Oftentimes these negative thoughts will get so out of control that they cause more anxiety, which in turn causes the symptoms that the person was hoping to avoid.
We mentioned social avoidance earlier under fear of social gatherings but social avoidance goes further than just fear and general avoidance. Avoidance includes actions that may negatively impact your life.
An example of this is rejecting a job promotion or offer because of fear of more social interaction. Other examples could include avoidance of job interviews, blind dates, or activities that imply social interaction such as group bike riding or jogging.
Really, social avoidance may be as a result of fear, but more often than not for someone with social anxiety disorder, this fear comes from negative thoughts and biases about any situation that looks like a social function and gatherings. This in turn results in avoidance which in turn can spiral out of control and cause more issues beyond social anxiety.
Bring It All Together
Well, these are some of the major signs someone with social anxiety notice. There might be more you might personally experience. A major determinant of social anxiety is a repeating pattern of avoiding social situations. However, avoiding social situations does not fully justify social anxiety. This avoidance must be pervasive enough that it results in severe negative consequences to your life.
The goal of recognising the symptoms is to stop the negative feedback loop and work toward being comfortable in social settings. You can work on it and get better socially if you really put in some effort.