If you have difficulty making friends, feel socially awkward in certain situations, and are often anxious around other people, then you may be struggling with social anxiety. Social anxiety can be difficult to recognize because it can look like shyness or even depression at times.
You may have social anxiety if you feel uncomfortable or scared in social situations and worry about being judged, embarrassed, or rejected. If these feelings become overwhelming and interfere with your daily life, it could be a sign that you have social anxiety disorder.
If you suspect that you may have social anxiety disorder, the next step is to seek help. Talking to a mental health professional can help identify if there is an underlying issue causing the anxiety and determine the best treatment option for managing symptoms. Treatment options may include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication management, exposure therapy, and relaxation techniques.
Can I Self-Diagnose Social Anxiety?
If you are just starting to think about social anxiety, you may find it difficult or confusing to understand if you have it or not. It is important to remember that self-diagnosing any mental health issue can be tricky and should not take the place of a professional diagnosis. Mental health professionals are best equipped to accurately diagnose and recommend treatments for any mental disorder.
That said, there are certain signs of social anxiety that can help you determine whether or not it may be something you need to look into further with a mental health provider.
Common symptoms of social anxiety include:
- Feeling embarrassed in front of other people
- Being overly self-conscious in public
- Avoiding certain situations due to fear and worry, having racing thoughts before speaking up during conversations
- Physical symptoms such as sweating when around other people, and feeling intense fear when speaking in front of a group
If any of these sound familiar to you, it may be worth looking into further with professional help.
Below are some tools to help you further understand social anxiety and how to manage it:
- Take an online survey/assessment that can help you determine your level of social anxiety.
- Reach out to a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or therapist, who can help you further assess your symptoms and provide treatment if necessary.
- Talk to trusted friends and family members about what you are feeling. They may be able to provide valuable insight or resources for additional support.
- Find support groups in your area or online for people with similar experiences.
Do I Have Social Anxiety or Am I Just Shy?
If you get nervous or uncomfortable in certain social situations, it can be difficult to distinguish between shyness and social anxiety. Although both conditions involve feeling anxious in public settings, they are not the same thing.
Shyness is often seen as more of a personality trait that makes someone feel uncomfortable around new people or in unfamiliar environments. It typically does not cause any noticeable physical symptoms such as sweating or increased heart rate, but rather just an internal feeling of unease and discomfort.
Social anxiety is usually much more intense than shyness and often requires professional intervention to manage its effects. If your feelings of unease interfere with daily activities or cause disruption to your life in any way, it may be worth looking into further with a mental health professional.
Below are some signs of shyness that can help you differentiate between shyness and social anxiety:
- Feeling uncomfortable in new or unfamiliar situations
- Not wanting to speak up during conversations
- Needing time to warm up to new people
- Wanting to be alone at times
- Preferring one on one conversations over large groups.
How Do You Know If You Have Social Anxiety?
Determining whether or not you have social anxiety can be complicated, and it is important to seek help from a qualified mental health provider to make an accurate diagnosis. If your feelings of unease interfere with aspects of your daily life or cause severe disruption, it may be time to talk to someone about getting the help you need.
Below are some common signs that may indicate you have social anxiety:
- Feeling anxious or uncomfortable in public settings
- Having a fear of speaking up in conversations
- Experiencing racing thoughts before speaking up during conversations
- Sweating and increased heart rate when around other people
- Avoiding certain situations due to fear and worry
- Panic attacks when faced with social interactions
- Extremely low self-esteem and poor self-image.
Professionals diagnose social anxiety disorder based on criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Some treatments such as medication may require a diagnosis to be eligible, so seeking professional help is the best way to ensure you get the help you need.
What Is Commonly Mistaken for Social Anxiety?
There are some conditions that are commonly mistaken for social anxiety disorder. It is important to understand the differences between these conditions and social anxiety in order to ensure you get the help you need.
Below are some common conditions that can be mistaken for social anxiety disorder:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): GAD is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a variety of topics. It typically does not involve fear or avoidance of specific situations like social anxiety does.
- Specific Phobias: A phobia is an intense and irrational fear of something specific, such as heights or spiders. Social anxiety disorder is more complex than a singular phobia and involves general feelings of unease in social or performance settings.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by traumatic events that can cause reoccurring flashbacks and nightmares. While social anxiety can also involve fear and avoidance of certain social situations, it is not caused by a traumatic event.
- Agoraphobia: An intense fear of being in public places or open spaces. While social anxiety disorder can cause feelings of unease in public settings, agoraphobia typically involves an extreme fear and avoidance of leaving the house due to the fear of having a panic attack in public.
- Depression: Depression is a mental health condition that causes persistent low moods, and feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and can interfere with daily activities. People with depression may avoid social situations in order to cope, but this is not the same as social anxiety.
- Shyness: As mentioned above, shyness and social anxiety can be difficult to differentiate. It is important to remember that although both involve feeling uncomfortable in public settings, shyness is usually much milder than social anxiety.
- Introversion: Many introverts may feel anxious when participating in certain activities such as speaking in front of a group. Although this feeling can be related to social anxiety, it is not the same thing and does not necessarily mean that you have social anxiety disorder. Introverts may naturally feel more comfortable in smaller, quieter settings and can still be successful socially without having social anxiety.
- Autism spectrum disorder: Those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may experience difficulty with interactions and communication due to their condition. Although this can often mimic the symptoms of social anxiety, it does not necessarily mean that you have social anxiety as well. It is best to consult a mental health professional if you think you may have ASD.
Ultimately, the only way to tell for sure if you have social anxiety is by talking to a qualified mental health professional who can provide an accurate diagnosis and help create an appropriate treatment plan if needed.
Can You Be Talkative But Have Social Anxiety?
You can undoubtedly be talkative and have social anxiety. Social anxiety is not only about avoiding conversations or being too anxious to participate. It can also manifest itself as a fear of speaking up, fear of making mistakes, fear of judgment from others, or even fear of performing a simple task in public.
Those with social anxiety may appear talkative on the outside but still experience intense feelings of anxiousness and discomfort when interacting with others. Below are some signs that you have social anxiety even though you are talkative:
- Excessive self-criticism or negative thoughts when talking to others
- Being overly self-conscious or worrying about what other people think of you
- Increased heart rate or sweating when speaking up
- Feeling exhausted after social interactions due to physical and mental strain
Am I An Introvert If I Have Social Anxiety?
You are not necessarily an introvert if you have social anxiety. Introversion and extroversion are personality traits that refer to how a person gets energy from either being around others or being alone. Social anxiety concerns a person’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors when interacting with others.
Below are some signs that you might be an introvert:
- Preferring to spend time alone or with a few close friends
- Feeling mentally and physically drained after social situations
- Having difficulty initiating conversations or expressing yourself in public settings
- Being more comfortable in quiet, low-key environments
What’s The Difference Between Social Anxiety and “Just Anxiety”?
The main difference between social anxiety and general anxiety is that with social anxiety, fear and anxiousness are specific to social or performance situations. For example, someone with social anxiety may feel very anxious when faced with social or performance situations but feel relatively fine if they have no upcoming obligations of this type.
On the other hand, someone who experiences general anxiety may have difficulty managing their emotions related to any type of situation or event. Additionally, people who struggle with general anxiety often find themselves worrying about future events or situations that are unlikely to occur. Understanding the differences can help lead you to seek treatment for your particular needs.
How Do I Get Help If I Think I Have Social Anxiety?
The best way to get help if you think you have social anxiety is by talking to a mental health professional. A qualified therapist can provide a thorough assessment and offer personalized recommendations for treatment, including talk therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, or a combination of these approaches.
Additionally, there are many self-help strategies that may be beneficial for managing symptoms such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, and talking to supportive friends or family members. Taking the first step towards seeking help is an essential part of overcoming social anxiety and living a fuller, more enriched life.
Below are some organizations and resources that may help you learn more about social anxiety:
- The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
- Social Anxiety Institute
- National Institute of Mental Health
Determining whether you have social anxiety can be difficult, but it is important to get an accurate diagnosis so that you can receive proper treatment. Talking to a qualified mental health professional is the best way to determine if you have social anxiety and get the help you need. Take the first step today, and work towards overcoming your social anxiety so that you can live a life of joy, purpose, and connection.
Related Posts About Social Anxiety
- How Do I Get Diagnosed With Social Anxiety?
- What’s the Difference Between Social Anxiety and Social Phobia?
- Social Anxiety vs. Autism
Do I Have Social Anxiety?
Here are some of my favorite social anxiety tools
Thanks for reading! I hope you found some helpful tips. Since this site is about social anxiety, I wanted to also share some tools I use that I hope you’ll find helpful. Some of these are affiliate links, so if you decide to try them, I’ll earn a commission. However, I only recommend things I have used myself and would recommend to a friend or family member.
Social Anxiety Masterclass: The Social Anxiety Masterclass is my signature course where I walk you through everything I know about how to manage social anxiety.
Audible Subscription: I recommend a lot of self-help books on this site, but I actually prefer an audiobook subscription over print books! My favorite subscription service is Audible because it has all the best-sellers and they stay in your digital library forever (even if you end your subscription). You can sign up for a free trial and listen to your first two books for free.
Online Therapy: For online therapy, I have personally used and like the service offered by Betterhelp. It's easy to get started from the comfort of your home. You'll even get a discount on your first month of therapy when you use my link.