Everyone has experienced anxiety at some point, such as feeling nervous around a first date, taking a high stakes test, or walking into a meeting late. It is normal to feel nervous or worry around these things. Worry and anxiety become problematic when it starts impeding your functioning or interfering with your activities. For example, if you do not enter a meeting because you are late and you’re afraid, when you walk in everyone will stare at you or judge you. Another example might be, not going on a first date because you are feeling so uncomfortable and tense at the thought of meeting this person and possibly being scrutinized as well as feeling fearful about having to talk with this person alone.
You may find yourself avoiding events, activities or social gatherings to soothe the anxiety/nervousness/fear you are experiencing. Avoidance behavior can lead to isolation as well as withdrawing socially. Some people may utilize alcohol and recreational drugs to ease their fears and feelings of anxiety while socializing.
Here are 5 signs you may have Social Anxiety as per the DSM-5:
Social Anxiety Disorder affects approximately 7% of the population in the United States as per the American Psychiatric Association. If you are experiencing some of these symptoms and would like to feel some relief, know that you are not alone! As overwhelming as the thought may be, reaching out to a trusted loved one, family member or friend for support can be a great help. Here are some tips to reduce anxiety: http://www.droshea.com/blog/top-5-ways-to-reduce-anxiety-symptoms. If you feel as though you have tried to reach out to your support system as well as trying other strategies and nothing is helping, it may be time to contact a mental health professional.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for diagnosis, treatment or therapy.
Dr. Deb is a successful Psychologist who practices in New York City. She is an Anxiety Specialist who works with adolescents and adults providing both individual and couples counseling.