Social Anxiety Disorder is a complete fear and dread of any social situation. This could be for example going shopping, talking in a group conversation, at school or work, or eating out in front of strangers. Naturally there are people who can be a little shy and awkward in these situations, however those suffering from this condition have an intense and overwhelming fear that makes them worry incessantly about it. It can take over their life completely, to the point where the person will do anything possible in order to avoid the situations they fear. Some even choosing to stay in constantly rather than subject themselves to this ordeal.
Some sufferers, when in these particular settings, can experience a panic attack due to the anticipation, fear and dread they feel inside. This causes further anxiety and apprehension, as they then dread having another panic attack when out again in the future in a similar situation. When in any of these types of situation they fear they may embarrass themselves, be criticised or be judged by other people. Individuals with this disorder tend to have very low self-esteem. Symptoms vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe, where a person dreads every single social situation. Some people with this disorder can have it alongside other disorders for example depression, alcohol or substance abuse.
Social Anxiety Disorder can significantly affect a person’s quality of life affecting their school, work and social life.