Have you ever found yourself wondering, “Do I have social anxiety?” Social anxiety is a specific form of anxiety.
Those with social anxiety are not shy, rude, antisocial, or introverted.
They simply become overwhelmed with fear in situations where they have to interact with other people.
The signs of social anxiety are not always easy to recognize and are often mistaken for generalized anxiety.
But social anxiety is much different. Here’s how to tell if you have social anxiety disorder!
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Much like generalized anxiety disorder, there are no tests to confirm social anxiety.
The disorder itself is considered a phobia that’s diagnosed by professionals through behavioral symptoms.
While therapists diagnose social anxiety all the time, you don’t need an official diagnosis for how to tell if you have social anxiety or not.
Social phobia is marked with specific behavioral and psychological signs.
However, many people often think they only have an anxiety or panic attack issue.
They don’t recognize that the anxiety or the panic attack they’re experiencing is the direct result of social situations.
How To Tell If You Have Social Anxiety Disorder- Signs And Symptoms
You Have An Increase In Physical Anxiety Symptoms
When you are around others, you feel a host of physical symptoms similar to panic attack symptoms.
They can be sudden or progress slowly.
The physical symptoms associated with social anxiety are very real and often are troublesome enough to increase the psychological symptoms.
Here’s how to tell if you have social anxiety with these physical symptoms:
- Racing heart rate
- Nausea (with or without vomiting)
- Increase urination
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Chocking or throat closing sensation
While these physical symptoms resonate with panic attack sufferers, these same symptoms for those with social phobia only occur when they are faced with their trigger: Being around others.
That’s the difference between panic attack symptoms and social anxiety is that those specific symptoms are triggered in response to a social situation or encounter.
Now that you know the physical symptoms associated with social anxiety, it will make it easier for you to recognize if you have social anxiety along with specific triggers for social situations.
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Negative Thinking About Yourself
Social anxiety tends to stem from a fear of being embarrassed in front of others. Physical symptoms like sweating, trembling and blushing only make social anxiety worse.
We all tend to think negative things about ourselves sometimes, but when you have social anxiety it can wear on your internal thinking patterns.
Because you become embarrassed easily or find it difficult to communicate with others socially you begin to think of yourself as ‘inferior.’
Avoiding Social Situations
This is one of the key factors for how to tell if you have social anxiety disorder!
Those with social anxiety will often avoid the social triggers that affect them the most.
For some people, it’s the possibility of interacting with people at the grocery store.
For others, they try and avoid speaking up at meetings at work for fear of judgment.
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Fear of Being Embarrassed
A phobia of social situations can start suddenly after one embarrassing moment or progress over time.
While the source of social anxiety differs from one person to another, there’s a common theme with this type of phobia:
A fear of feeling or being ridiculed, judged, or embarrassed publicly.
It’s never easy being ridiculed or feeling embarrassed by other people. But those with social anxiety cannot let embarrassing moments go.
Those thoughts and feelings about a past negative social interaction tend to play on repeat in their mind to remind them of how horrible the event was.
This only fuels the social phobia more. Now every time he or she encounters a social situation, their fear is triggered because they can’t move on from the previous embarrassing interaction.
A Preference To Be Alone
An introvert is someone who finds solace in being alone compared to finding comfort from other individuals.
While there’s nothing wrong with being quiet or introverted, an introvert does not have social anxiety.
Therefore, they do not fear the deep fear and panic that’s associated with social phobia.
If you have social anxiety, you are not an introverted person. Not when you have accompanying physical symptoms triggered by social events.
With social anxiety, you still have a desire to be around those you love.
Odds are, you still feel comfortable with a few close friends and family. Those you trust and who understand you.
You may prefer to be alone not because you seek the peace and quiet of being alone, but because you’re too afraid to be around others you don’t have a close relationship with.
It Interferes With Relationship And Work
All of the above factors combined over time do begin to affect your life negatively.
What once started as mild anxiety around large social events like weddings or concerts has not interfered with your ability to have one-on-one conversations with coworkers or bosses.
The thing about social anxiety is that it snowballs. Both the physical and mental symptoms of the phobia become worse with time and only begin interfering more and more with everyday life.
Those with extreme social anxiety did not start out that way.
They once lived differently, interacting socially with others, and were able to complete social outings outside their home confidently.
When a mental condition interferes with your ability to complete daily tasks like conversating with other people and completing daily errands, then it’s time to start seeking help for social anxiety.
Social anxiety looks different for everyone. One person may not be able to go to the grocery store for fear of being judged.
Another person with the same phobia can hold it together through a work meeting, but then cries and trembles in the bathroom stale fearing they embarrassed themselves with their opinion in the meeting.
There are different degrees in the severity of anxiety and different triggers for each person.
The root cause of social anxiety is hard to pinpoint sometimes and requires deep reflection into past experiences.
Individuals may find that self-reflection may lead to past childhood trauma that now manifests itself as a social phobia.
You are not alone if you suffer from social anxiety. The best way to start finding some peace and help with the phobia is by examining the root cause, when it started and having very empathetic friends and family in your life who understand.
I will say from experience, the worst thing someone can do for another person who suffers from social anxiety is to make them conquer their fear.
Forcing someone to face their fear head-on and too quickly will only result in more anxiety with social situations.
So be kind to yourself and help others understand how to tell if you have social anxiety disorder with the above symptoms and signs!