When this fear is persistent for more than six months, intense and it interferes with normal life, it may be classified as a social anxiety disorder. The fear may negatively impact life choices such as study, career, hobbies, and potential life partners.
What can cause social anxiety?
There’s no one, single cause of social anxiety disorder. Like other anxiety disorders, there may be a number of causes and both nature and nurture play a role. The condition often starts in childhood or adolescence.
Adolescents who are shy or socially inhibited are, particularly at risk. In children, overbearing or controlling parents, clingy behavior, shyness, and excessive timidity may indicate the potential to experience social anxiety disorder symptoms and signs later in life.
Social anxiety disorder symptoms and signs
A diagnosis is based on having typical signs of anxiety, which cause significant distress or impairment of day-to-day functioning, and the symptoms are persistent for at least six months.
Constant, intense anxiety (fear) in social situations is the most common symptom of a social anxiety disorder, but this may present or be noticeable as:
Excessive perspiration, trembling, or increased heart rate
Upset stomach, nausea, or diarrhea.
Difficulty speaking – stammering, trouble concentrating, speaking too softly
An urge to run away from the situation