When people experience significant amounts of anxiety in social situations, or even just when thinking about upcoming social situations, they may have social anxiety disorder. Generally, the major concern of people with social anxiety disorder is the risk or expectation of rejection, humiliation, or negative evaluation from others. Very commonly, people manage social anxiety by avoiding or limiting social interactions and engagements. The downside to this coping strategy is that avoidance makes social anxiety stronger over time, and can damage social connections and social support.
Because social anxiety disorder typically begins earlier than most anxiety disorders, people often don’t realize they have it. A person with social anxiety may have lived and coped with it for a long time, and it can seem like just a part of their personality; it can be received as shyness, or as a matter of needing to “come out of their shell.”
Wondering if you might have social anxiety disorder? Take a Social Anxiety screening test.
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