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How To Know If You Have Social Anxiety

How To Know If You Have Social Anxiety

Wanting to avoid certain situations is normal, like a big test at school or starting a new job. For most people, these feelings subside. But if they’re worse for you and create intense fear and interfere with everyday life, then you may be experiencing social anxiety. Fortunately, help is available.

What Is Social Anxiety?

“It’s normal to feel nervous in some social situations. For example, going on a date or giving a presentation may cause that feeling of butterflies in your stomach. But in social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, everyday interactions cause significant anxiety, self-consciousness and embarrassment because you fear being scrutinized or judged negatively by others.”

Social anxiety disorder causes feelings leading to avoidance and life disruptions in relationships, daily schedules, work, school, or other activities.

Is It Contagious?

Just like you can catch the flu or a cold, you can “catch anxiety” in different ways, such as from a friend complaining about her job stress or listening to a TV interview featuring survivors of a natural disaster.  According to many resources where studies have been undertaken, the structure of the human brain – how it’s wired – makes it all too simple for people to “catch” emotions. Thankfully, social anxiety symptoms are often treatable.

What Causes Social Anxiety?

  • Anxiety disorders may run in families. But it’s not clear how much is caused by genetics and how much is triggered by learned behavior.
  • Brain structure. A structure in the brain called the amygdala (uh-MIG-duh-luh) may play a role in controlling the fear response. People who have an overactive amygdala may have a heightened fear response, causing increased anxiety in social situations.”
  • A bad or embarrassing situation.
  • Anxious or controlling parents being overprotective of their children.

How To Know If You Have Social Anxiety

Knowing if you have social anxiety disorder depends on two things, really: identifying the symptoms and getting a formal diagnosis from a medical doctor or mental health professional. People like to think they know themselves better than anyone else, and can diagnose their own ills accordingly, but that’s especially difficult with mental illness. Social stigmas, shame, and other factors make it hard to self-diagnose, even with a plethora of self-diagnosis tools available online. How to know if you have social anxiety? Start with the symptoms.

Emotional And Behavioral Symptoms

  • Trepidation of settings where you could be judged poorly
  • Worry about upsetting or humiliating yourself
  • Extreme fear of talking or interacting with outsiders
  • Fear that someone will notice that you appear anxious
  • Worry of physical symptoms that could result in embarrassment, like blushing, sweating, or having a quivering voice
  • Anxiety in expectation of a feared event or activity 
  • Extreme anxiety or fear during social settings
  • Self-analyzing your performance and identifying shortcomings in how you acted during a social event
  • Avoiding situations that could trigger your worries, such as school, work, or other social interactions
  • Assuming the worst possible consequences due to a negative experience during a social settings

Thankfully, many symptoms of social anxiety can be managed with therapy, including ketamine treatment.

If any of these symptoms persist for at least six months and make everyday life difficult, then you may have a social anxiety disorder.


The first step is to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about your symptoms. Your doctor should perform an exam and ask about your health history to ensure your symptoms aren’t caused by an unrelated physical problem. You may then get referred to a mental health specialist, such as a clinical social worker, counselor, psychiatrist, or psychologist. The road leading to effective treatment begins with a legitimate diagnosis, usually by a mental health specialist.


In many cases, social anxiety disorder is treated with talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy, on an in-patient or out-patient basis. Depending on how bad your symptoms are and how long they’ve lasted, your doctor also could recommend ketamine therapy or medicine. But treatment depends on diagnosis, which your healthcare provider only arrives at after consulting with criteria established in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Final Thoughts

Social anxiety doesn’t have to rule your life. Many people who suffer from its symptoms have discovered innovative, new strategies to regain control of their lives, including therapy, self-help, ketamine therapy and, in some cases, medicine. Contact us today to learn more about how our treatments may be able to provide you relief!


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