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What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Social Anxiety Disorder

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Social anxiety Disorder is a mental health condition characterised by intense fear or anxiety about social situations. People with social anxiety may worry excessively about being judged, embarrassed, or humiliated in social settings, leading to avoidance of social interactions. It can significantly impact daily life and relationships if left untreated.

As humans we always tend to know why an individual acts indifferently in social situations. The causes of social anxiety could be genetic, biological or environmental.  Social anxiety may run in families. Levels of neurotransmitters such serotonin and dopamine contribute to social anxiety. 

Traumatising events in society such as ragging can contribute to development of social anxiety. 

What causes Social Anxiety?

Individuals with social anxiety often go to great lengths to avoid social situations or may endure them with extreme discomfort. 

They may feel overwhelming dread or panic when faced with social interactions or situations. They may have persistent negative thoughts about themselves, anticipating criticism or judgement from others. Social anxiety can make it challenging to speak, leading to stuttering, stumbling over words, or becoming tongue-tied. Even the thought of interacting in society makes them restless with a feeling of nausea and increased heart rate.

Impact of Social Anxiety on Day to Day Life

Social anxiety can have a great impact on various aspects of a person’s life. In social settings, individuals with social anxiety may experience intense fear, leading to avoidance of social interactions or situations. This avoidance can hinder the development of meaningful relationships, limit opportunities for career advancement, and decrease participation in social activities. Academic or professional performance may suffer due to difficulty speaking up in class or meetings, participating in group projects, or networking with peers and colleagues. It can also take a toll on mental and physical health, leading to feelings of isolation, low self-esteem, and depression. Overall, social anxiety can significantly diminish overall quality of life if left untreated. 

Early Signs and Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder

It typically begins in childhood or adolescence, although it can develop at any age. The onset of social anxiety disorder is often gradual, with symptoms becoming more prevalent over time. Certain life events, such as moving to a new school, starting a new job, or experiencing a traumatic social situation, can trigger symptoms. However, some individuals may not seek treatment until their symptoms significantly interfere with their daily life or relationships. Early intervention and treatment can help manage symptoms and improve overall functioning.

Some individuals may feel excessively self-conscious or hyper-aware of their actions, appearance, or perceived flaws.

How can I support myself and others with social anxiety disorder?

Early intervention:

Seeking help at the onset of symptoms or recognizing signs of social anxiety early can prevent the condition from worsening.

Build social skills:

Taking small steps to gradually expose oneself to social situations and practising social skills can help build confidence and reduce anxiety.

Seek support:

Talking to trusted friends, family members, or a mental health professional about feelings of anxiety can provide valuable support and perspective.

Mindfulness and relaxation:

Practising mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation techniques can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation in social situations.

Set realistic goals:

Setting achievable goals for social interaction and gradually increasing exposure to anxiety-provoking situations can help build confidence and reduce avoidance behaviours.


With early intervention, support, and the implementation of coping strategies, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms effectively and lead fulfilling lives. It’s essential to recognize the signs of social anxiety early and seek help from mental health professionals who can provide guidance and support tailored to individual needs. By fostering understanding, offering support, and promoting awareness, we can work together to reduce the stigma surrounding social anxiety and create a more inclusive and supportive society for all.