How does a person who has social phobia feel?
Most people who have social phobia have a strong fear of being judged or embarrassed in front of other people. They feel as though everyone is watching them and will see them blush, sweat or otherwise show their fear and anxiety. They often believe that showing anxiety is a sign of weakness or inferiority. They also believe other people are more confident and competent than they really are.
People who have social phobia usually know their fears are not completely rational, but they still find themselves dreading social situations. They may go out of their way to avoid going to some events. If people with social phobia do go to an event, they usually feel very nervous before the event and very uncomfortable during it. Physical symptoms include:
- Trembling or shaking
- Difficulty talking or making eye contact
Afterward, the unpleasant feelings may linger as they worry about what other people at the event thought of them. Social phobia can make it difficult to go to work, school or take part in other daily activities.
Social Anxiety Disorder: A Common, Underrecognized Mental Disorder by TJ Bruce, Ph.D. and SA Saeed, M.D. (American Family Physician November 15, 1999, http://www.aafp.org/afp/991115ap/2311.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff