In some social situations, it is normal to feel nervous. For instance, going on a date or giving a presentation can cause that feeling in your stomach of butterflies. But everyday interactions in social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, cause significant anxiety, fear, self-consciousness, and embarrassment because you fear being scrutinized or judged by others.

Fear and anxiety contribute to avoidance in social anxiety disorder which can interrupt your life. Severe stress can have an impact on your everyday routine, work, school or other activities.

Social anxiety disorder is a chronic mental health condition but learning psychotherapy coping skills and taking medication can help you gain trust and improve your ability to interact with others.


Feelings of shyness or discomfort are not necessarily signs of a social anxiety disorder in some settings, especially in children. Comfort levels differ according to personality traits and life experiences in social situations. Of course, some people are reserved and others are more outgoing. Social anxiety disorder, unlike everyday nervousness, includes fear, anxiety, and avoidance that interferes with everyday routine, work, school, or other activities. Typically, social anxiety disorder begins in the early to mid-teens although it can sometimes begin in younger children or adults.

Emotional and behavioral symptoms

Persistent signs and symptoms of a social anxiety disorder may include:

  • Fear of situations you might be judged in
  • Worrying about getting yourself embarrassed or humiliated
  • Intense fear of interacting with and talking to strangers
  • Fear others will notice you’re looking anxious
  • Fear of physical symptoms that may cause you to be embarrassed, such as blushing, sweating, shaking or shaking your voice
  • Don’t do things or talk to people out of fear of embarrassment\
  • Having anxiety ahead of a feared activity or event
  • A social condition where there is extreme fear or anxiety

Anxiety about interacting with adults or peers can be demonstrated to children by crying, having temper tantrums, clinging to parents or refusing to speak in social situations.

Type of performance of social anxiety disorder is when you experience intense fear and anxiety only during public speaking or performing, but not in other social situations.

Physical symptoms

Sometimes, physical signs and symptoms may accompany a social anxiety disorder and may include

  • Trouble catching your breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Feeling that your mind has gone blank
  • Muscle tension
  • Blushing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Upset stomach or nausea

Symptoms of social anxiety disorder can change over time. They may flare up if there is a lot of stress or demands you face. Although avoiding anxiety-producing situations can make you feel better in the short term if you don’t get treatment, your anxiety will likely continue over the long run.