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Social Anxiety

Social anxiety (also called social phobia) is an on-going fear about social situations.

It is one of the most common forms of anxiety that people experience.

Lots of people worry about public speaking, going to a party on their own or talking to an important person, however they are still able to manage this without too much trouble. For some people this experience is much more intense and overwhelming.

When people have social anxiety they can experience high levels of anxiety over what are normal day-to-day activities such as going to the shops or taking a telephone call. It is often accompanied by thoughts about how they might humiliate themselves or negative views as to how other people see them.

Symptoms include:

• dreading everyday activities

• feeling insecure in relationships

• physical symptoms – shaking, blushing, feeling dizzy or rapid breathing

• negative thoughts as to what other people think about you

• negative thoughts as to how you are in social situations

• misusing drugs or alcohol to manage situations better

• avoiding eye contact or avoiding conversation with people

Sometimes the physical symptoms can get so bad that people experience a panic attack (see panic section).

Often the end result of social anxiety is that people avoid social situations and become lonely and isolated, as it disrupts normal life, interfering with social relationships and quality of life, and impairing performance at work or school.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The Steps to Wellbeing Service provides evidence based treatment that can help you to overcome your social anxiety and improve your quality of life.

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