If you have social anxiety disorder, you may have the following symptoms during social interactions: BlushingExcessive sweatingTremblingDry throat and mouthMuscle twitchesIntense anxietyDizzinessRapid heart beat
These visible symptoms can heighten the fear of disapproval and the symptoms themselves can become an additional focus of fear. Fear of symptoms can create a vicious cycle: you may worry about having these symptoms, which makes you more likely to actually experience them.
Any public situation, familiar or unfamiliar, formal or informal, can lead to symptoms of social anxiety disorder. Common examples include: Being teased or criticizedBeing the center of attentionMeeting new peopleInteracting with authority figuresInteracting with members of the opposite sexEating, writing, or speaking in publicUsing public toilets
Social anxiety disorder can be broken into two categories. The specific or performance type—limited to only one type of situation, such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others.The most severe form (the generalized type of social anxiety disorder)—you may experience symptoms almost anytime you are around other people.
Schneier FR. Clinical practice. Social anxiety disorder.
N Engl J Med
Last reviewed December 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
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