Social anxiety disorder may cause the following symptoms during social interactions:
Dry throat and mouth
Rapid 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 criticized
Being the center of attention
Meeting new people
Interacting with authority figures
Interacting with members of the opposite sex
Eating, writing, or speaking in public
Using 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)—The presence of other people may cause symptoms.
Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml. Updated March 2016. Accessed June 27, 2017.
Schneier FR. Clinical practice. Social anxiety disorder. N Engl J Med. 2006;355(10):1029-1036.
Social phobia. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/anxiety-and-stressor-related-disorders/social-phobia. Updated May 2014. Accessed June 27, 2017.
Last reviewed June 2017 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 12/20/2014
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