What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

It wouldn’t be surprising to find that you have already heard the term ‘social anxiety disorder’. It’s something that seems to be more and more a part of our lives, and if you don’t suffer from it yourself, you likely know someone who does.

Social anxiety disorder means having an extreme fear of any kind of social setting. This could manifest as making it hard – even impossible – to talk to people and meeting new people is extremely problematic. If someone with a social anxiety disorder is asked to attend a social event, they might shy away from it, thinking up all kinds of reasons why they can’t go and missing out because of it.

Social anxiety is not the same as shyness, which is a much more short-term condition. Social anxiety entirely disrupts people’s lives, and makes it hard to hold down a job, go to school, or interact with people in general, making relationships difficult.

Causes of Social Anxiety Disorder

Although the exact cause of social anxiety disorder is unknown, and we still don’t know why some people develop it. Some don’t; we do know that there are some negative experiences that people might go through, which can contribute to social anxiety disorder, deepening the problem. These negative experiences include:

  • Bullying – either in real life or online (known as cyberbullying)
  • Abuse
  • Family conflicts
  • Physical differences (birthmarks, disabilities, and so on)

It is thought that social anxiety disorders can run in families, but whether this is due to ‘nature or nurture’ is unclear. The fact is this debilitating condition can cause many different problems. Thankfully, there are various treatment options, too, including those at igniteteentreatment.com.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder

If you suffer from social anxiety disorder yourself, you probably already know this and understand what is happening when you start to become afraid to leave the house or attend functions. If you’re concerned someone else might be suffering, and you want to help them, there are some signs to look out for.

Physical signs are the most apparent symptoms of social anxiety disorder. Everyone will react slightly differently, but there are certainly some physical signs to look out for if you think someone you care for might have this condition. Symptoms such as frequent blushing when in a social situation, excessive sweating, trouble forming words, shaking, nausea, and increased heart rate, and feeling dizzy can all be signs that someone has a social anxiety disorder.

There are psychological symptoms too which, although more challenging to spot, should be watched for if you are concerned. The most obvious is avoiding all social events and interactions with other people, and this is especially concerning if the person in question was once outgoing and enjoyed these kinds of events.

You might find your friend or loved one worries about an event they do have to go to, perhaps days or even weeks before it is due. They might be concerned about embarrassing themselves if they do go out, and in some cases, they might take to drugs or alcohol to help them deal with the things that can’t avoid.

For more on how you can manage your anxiety, read more from BetterHelp.