Watch Out for These Symptoms if You Think You Have Social Anxiety
Social anxiety disorder is characterized by an intense anxiety experienced when one is in situations where they can be observed and  judged by others.
Social anxiety disorder is characterized by an intense anxiety experienced when one is in situations where they can be observed and judged by others. (Photo: iStockphoto)

Watch Out for These Symptoms if You Think You Have Social Anxiety

Sometimes symptoms of certain disorders are very prevalent, much more than the disorder itself. This is especially true for social anxiety disorder. I can be awkward, I can want to withdraw from social life, I can go to lengths to avoid people – but this does not mean that I am suffering from social anxiety.

Since the kind of withdrawing behaviour depicted by an awkward and a socially anxious person can be similar, it can be difficult to always understand what is a disorder and which isn’t.

Social anxiety disorder is characterized by an intense anxiety experienced when one is in situations where they can be observed and judged by others. People suffering from this disorder fear negative evaluations or being rejected in social situations.

They usually view social situations with a lot of trepidation and significant distress. They might also experience some physical symptoms such as nausea, a rapid heartbeat, sweating and sometimes even a full blown panic attack.

Diagnosing and treating social anxiety is best done by professionals. However, there are symptoms mentioned below that help in understanding whether you or someone close to you might be suffering from social anxiety.

Too caught up to read? Listen to this story:

1. Your Social Anxiety Impedes Your Life

Social anxiety is more complicated than just fearing people.
Social anxiety is more complicated than just fearing people.
(Photo: FIT)

Being socially anxious makes it difficult for you to live your life normally and be happy about it. Are you so scared of messing up in social situations, or being perceived negatively, or as awkward, that the fear stops you from living a life you can be happy about?

When a behaviour interferes with your ability to live life “normally,” or what you construe as normal, then it’s a definite sign that you need to talk to an expert.

2. You Judge Yourself for Being Socially Anxious

Are you telling yourself to not have certain thoughts about social anxiety? Do you criticize yourself for having these thoughts? <br>
Are you telling yourself to not have certain thoughts about social anxiety? Do you criticize yourself for having these thoughts?
(Photo: iStockphoto)

If you find yourself doing this, it is an indication that you’re putting pressure on yourself to not feel things you’re naturally feeling. That means you are feeling socially anxious, but you are trying to train yourself into not feeling it, by establishing that they are bad thoughts to have.

Are you telling yourself to not have certain thoughts about social anxiety? Do you criticize yourself for having these thoughts?

You know what happens when you try to fight a wave? You go under. It’s always better to swim with the current rather than to fight it.

3. Social Anxiety Negates Other Positives in Your Life

Anxiousness isn’t something that can just simply be controlled, and it’s not just a phase.
Anxiousness isn’t something that can just simply be controlled, and it’s not just a phase.
(Photo: FIT)

If you have the thought that you’d gladly sacrifice important things in your life, if that means not being anxious socially, that means this is definitely a pre-occupation we are dealing with. You need to visit an expert.

4. You Can't Take Big Steps in Life Till Social Anxiety is Addressed

Social anxiety can prevent you from taking important steps in your life.
Social anxiety can prevent you from taking important steps in your life.
(Photo Courtesy: Tumblr/twenty1-grams)

These steps can range from a job, to marriage, to having a child or adopting a dog. Does this fear of social situations keep you from making important decisions in other realms in your life?

If you feel like you won’t be able to succeed in other spheres, because of your social anxiety, or it must reduce before you progress, then definitely the anxiety or the fear of it is interfering in your ability to live life authentically.

If you find the situations familiar to what you face on a daily basis, then it’s a good idea to get an appointment with an expert and to get tested. Although tests are available online, and some of them are even reliable and valid, nothing is a substitute for a physical interaction with a professional.

(Prachi Jain is a psychologist, trainer, optimist, reader and lover of Red Velvets.)

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