Millions of people around the world suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder (also known as Social Phobia) and related conditions.
Despite being the most common type of anxiety disorder and the cause of much impairment and suffering, it is under-recognised and under-treated.
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Everyday tasks which most people take for granted - such as working, socialising, shopping, speaking on the telephone, even just going out of the house - might be a wearing ordeal marked by persistent feelings of anxiety and self-consciousness.
Public performances or social gatherings might be out of the question.
Many people can go through this kind of experience during adolescence, but for SA'ers the problems can persist well beyond those years.
Over time, many sufferers come to avoid the situations they fear or become very inhibited or defensive in situations, often leading to depression and loneliness.
Whoever you talk to now, you should also visit your GP.
They will be able to advise you on treatment options, should these feelings continue to trouble you.Sufferers typically experience excessive feelings of nervousness or dread in relation to feared social situations.They may experience specific physical symptoms such as trembling, rapid breathing, sweating or blushing. Sufferers tend to be very self-conscious and worried about whether others might be evaluating them negatively.Many people have particular worries about social situations like public speaking or talking to authority figures, or experience more general feelings of shyness or a lack of confidence.For some, however, these social anxieties and fears can become much more troubling and difficult to cope with.If you have experienced or do experience feelings such as these, you could well have Social Anxiety or the more severe form - Social Anxiety Disorder.