7 Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder

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Hello Psych2Goers! Hope you all keeping safe and looking after yourselves.

This article explores symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder. Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is a debilitating & chronic illness characterized by a “marked & persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations involving exposure to unfamiliar people or possible scrutiny by others (Joylin et al., 2019). Ritchie & Roser (2018) collected data regarding mental health disorders in 2017. The data showed that the global population with anxiety disorders is 3.8% and females are more likely to experience anxiety disorders in comparison to males.

This is a reminder that the article is purely for educational purposes and should not be used to self diagnose social anxiety disorder. If you suspect that you or somebody you know may have social anxiety disorder, please speak to a mental health professional or doctor in order to get a formal diagnosis and support. 

Here are 7 Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder: 

  1. Worrying about every day activities. This may include meeting new people and strangers, starting conversations, speaking on the phone to people, going to work or doing daily tasks such as shopping where other people may be present.
  2. Avoiding and worrying about social activities. People with social anxiety disorder may feel like they do not want to be put into situations where there is a lot of people about, especially social gatherings or activities. This may also include engaging in group conversations and socialising at events.
  3. Blushing and excessive sweating can be physical symptoms. Some people may experience physical symptoms which might indicate that they are experiencing social anxiety. Sometimes, this is linked to fear of embarrassment, especially when in the presence of other people. Other symptoms may include feeling sick, trembling or a pounding heart (also known as palpitations).
  4. An overwhelming fear of being criticised. Sometimes social anxiety can stem from a fear of being criticised and often this impacts interpersonal skills such as having poor eye contact and closed body language and experiencing low self-esteem.
  5. Feeling like you are being judged and watched all the time by people. Some people with social anxiety may feel like they are being watched by others, including peers, work colleagues or strangers, and that those people are judging them for what they are doing. This may make completing tasks in the presence of others more difficult and pressured.
  6. May experience panic attacks. People with social anxiety disorder may experience panic attacks where they feel an overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety and they may feel like they are struggling to breathe. These may last for a few minutes and can be quite scary for the person experiencing this.
  7. Expecting the worst case scenario. Often, people with social anxiety will expect the worst possible consequences from a negative experience during a social situation even if it is deemed by others as not being that bad.

Social Anxiety Disorder can be quite a frightening disorder for some people. People feel like they would rather avoid social situations rather than tackle them head on. If you or somebody you know has experienced some of these symptoms or if you feel like you can relate to some of the symptoms described in this article, then get in touch with a health professional and explore your symptoms further.

Please remember that these are only some of the symptoms which are linked to Social Anxiety Disorder. Given the current circumstances with Covid-19, it is understandable that more people are becoming socially anxious as result and some people who already have social anxiety disorder may be struggling more than before. Please be kind and support each other as we work together to tackle this pandemic. 

If you have enjoyed this article, please leave us a comment in the comment box below. We love hearing back from our readers as we continue on our mission to make psychology and mental health more accessible for all. 

Take care and watch this space for further articles! 

J 🙂 


Joylin, J., Mascarenhas, Krishna, A., & Pinto, D. (2019). Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder) in Medical and Paramedical First Year Undergraduates. Galore International Journal of Health Sciences and Research (Www.Gijhsr.Com), 4(2), 120. https://www.gijhsr.com/GIJHSR_Vol.4_Issue.2_April2019/15.pdf

Ritchie, H., & Roser, M. (2018). Mental Health. Our World in Data. https://ourworldindata.org/mental-health

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