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Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder may cause the following symptoms during social interactions:
- Excessive sweating
- Dry throat and mouth
- Muscle twitches
- Intense anxiety
- Rapid heart beat
These visible symptoms can heighten the fear of disapproval and the symptoms themselves can become an additional focus of fear. Fear of symptoms can create a vicious cycle: you may worry about having these symptoms, which makes you more likely to actually experience them.
Any public situation, familiar or unfamiliar, formal or informal, can lead to symptoms of social anxiety disorder. Common examples include:
- Being teased or criticized
- Being the center of attention
- Meeting new people
- Interacting with authority figures
- Interacting with members of the opposite sex
- Eating, writing, or speaking in public
- Using public toilets
Social anxiety disorder can be broken into 2 categories.
- The specific or performance type—Limited to only one type of situation, such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others.
- The most severe form (the generalized type of social anxiety disorder)—The presence of other people may cause symptoms.
Schneier FR. Clinical practice. Social anxiety disorder. N Engl J Med. 2006;355(10):1029-1036.
Social anxiety disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 17, 2015. Accessed December 23, 2015.
Social phobia (social anxiety disorder). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/social-phobia-social-anxiety-disorder/index.shtml. Accessed December 23, 2015.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 12/2015
- Update Date: 12/20/2014