What Is Social Anxiety Disorder? How Can You Overcome It?

Posted: April 18, 2018

Social Anxiety Disorder is an out-of-proportion fear of one or more social situations wherein the person is concerned about being harsly judged and evaluated for their performance or interpersonal interactions.

They experience marked and persistent fear and avoidance of one or more social or performance situations. Although many people feel anxious in social gatherings, the key to the Social Anxiety Disorder is ‘Functional impairment’ in an important facet of life functioning. It is also known as social phobia, fear of embarrassment, fear of rejection.

Over all prevalence of SAD is 2-3% and more common in women than men. It has its peak onset in the early teenage years. There is increased risk of Drug Abuse, Depressive episodes and suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Risk factors for Social Anxiety Disorder

  • Family history
  • Very harsh and strict parenting style
  • Genetic role
  • Childhood sign of behavioral inhibition

Social and behavioural Symptoms

  • Performance anxiety when speaking in front of a crowd
  • Severe anxiety at meeting strangers
  • Fear in doing simple things in front of others like (Signing, Ordering from Menu)
  • Mind go blank in social situtaions
  • Refraining from certain activities or talking to people because of fear of embarrassment

Physical Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder

  • Heart palpitation
  • Dry mouth
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Blushing
  • Cold hands
  • Confusion
  • Weeping or Crying
  • Diarrhoea
  • Muscle tension
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dificulty in talking

What to Do

Most important is to break the cycle of anxious thoughts.

  • Say positive things to oneself- when we feed positive thoughts like “I can do it” “I will do my best” to our subconcious mind, our body and mind actualy tune together to do best.
  • Avoid negative thoughts- Telling your self “you are a shy person” will reinforce current anxiety. Thoughts fuel behavioural pattern.
  • Avoid Alcohol or Drugs- Don’t ever use drugs to overcome shyness. They will make situation more worse.
  • Stress management techniques- Relaxation, Deep breathing, Yoga, Meditation helps a person to over come negative thoughts process.
  • Exposure therapy- Start going out and face situation. In case of anxity take deep breathing and try to relax.

If still things are not getting better, take the help of a professional. Psychotherapy and medication will definitely help you.

Image via Pixabay

Dr. Anita Gautam is a Director Clinical Operation & Consultant Psychiatrist, Gautam Hospital & Research Center and

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