What is social anxiety disorder?
People living with social anxiety disorder (sometimes called social phobia) experience intense and often overwhelming fear when they are in social situations, or when they are asked to perform publicly, because this can come with the possibility of feeling embarrassed, judged, or humiliated. This can manifest when asked to give an oral presentation, or by feeling anxious about eating in front of people, or by the idea of going to a party, or even by feeling afraid to leave the house altogether.
When faced with a public situation, or sometimes even by just thinking about it, people with social anxiety can have physical reactions like an increased heart rate, dizziness, shaking, sweating, stomach aches, or disorientation.
Source: Gouvernement du Québec
As a teenager, it’s normal to:
- often feel that everyone is watching and judging you.
- fear rejection.
- compare yourself with others and doubt yourself sometimes.
- feel stressed in new situations such as talking to strangers at a party or seeing your crush outside of school.
It’s common to find these situations stressful. Although unpleasant while it’s happening, the anxiety passes and doesn’t stop you from going about your daily life.
With social anxiety disorders however, social situations are so overwhelming that a person may avoid them altogether for fear of the intense panic they cause.
What to watch for
- You dread social situations so much that you often find yourself thinking about them all the time, and can’t think about anything else.
- You do whatever you can to avoid social situations, like skipping lunch so you won’t be seen, finding ways to miss your oral presentations, saying no when friends invite you to events where you might meet new people, etc.
- You rely on alcohol or drugs to feel comfortable around others.
- You continue to feel anxious long after the stressful situation is over.
If these signs seem familiar, don’t hesitate to reach out. Tel-jeunes is here for you.