What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?

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At some point, you’ve probably been afraid that you would look stupid, do something embarrassing, or be judged by people. But if you have social anxiety disorder, these worries can be very debilitating.

Social anxiety disorder is more than just being shy.

It’s severe anxiety and worries about being judged, ridiculed, or rejected in social situations. Many people who experience it describe how paralyzing it can feel to be around others. This intense fear makes it so uncomfortable that you avoid all kinds of social interactions.

How to Know if You Have Social Anxiety Disorder

In the DSM V, the handbook of mental disorders, the term Social Anxiety Disorder is also called Social phobia. In order to be diagnosed with this mental health disorder, you have to meet the following symptoms of a social anxiety disorder.  

  1. There is a marked and persistent fear of possible scrutiny or negative evaluation by others in one or more social interactions or performance situations
  2. You fear that you will act in a way (or show physical symptoms like sweating) that will be humiliating or embarrassing.
  3. Exposure to the feared social situation almost invariably provokes anxiety, which may cause a panic attack.
  4. You recognize ad acknowledge that the fear is excessive or unreasonable.
  5. The feared performance or social interactions are avoided or endured with intense anxiety or distress.
  6. The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared social or performance situation(s) interferes significantly with the person’s normal routine, daily life, social life, and/or relationships.
  7. The social fear is not due to anything else like substances or another medical condition.
  8. The anxiety has been happening for more than 6 months.