15 Signs of Social Anxiety Most People Don’t Understand

15 Signs of Social Anxiety Most People Don’t Understand

social anxietyAnxiety

Social anxiety is a severe mental health disorder that can paralyze you. You may find that you’re nervous and prefer your alone time, as being around people sends your anxiety into an uproar. However, the signs of social anxiety are not often understood by those who’ve never experienced them.

While the core symptoms are the same for most, there are always some variations in your condition. For instance, one person may have social anxiety that makes getting behind the wheel impossible, as they’ve developed claustrophobia along with it. In contrast, another person may struggle to go to the doctor’s office to get help because of the crowded waiting room.

According to the Mayo Clinic, social anxiety disorder is similar to the feelings of butterflies in your stomach before a presentation. It’s also called social phobia, and it can cause significant limitations on your life if you do not seek treatment.

Fifteen Signs of Social Anxiety

It’s challenging for folks who don’t suffer from anxiety to understand the debilitating nature. They may tell you that you need to go shopping anyway as it will help you get better. Well, while exposure therapy can help, it’s not always so cut and dry. Here are some signs of social anxiety that many people don’t understand.

signs of social anxiety

1. Turning Down Invitations Can Be a First Sign of Social Anxiety

People with social anxiety turn down invitations to birthday parties and other events. It’s not that they don’t want to go, but their fear won’t allow such mingling with other people. Some folks can easily take this wrong and think that the person is coming across as snobbish, but nothing could be further from the truth.

2. Refusing to Leave the Home

The person with these high levels of anxiety finds comfort in their home. It’s imperative to seek help as people who isolate can quickly have their social anxiety turn into a more severe condition called agoraphobia. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, agoraphobia affects around one-tenth of the population.

3. Panic Attacks Go Hand-in-Hand With Social Anxiety

When a person suffering from anxiety reaches a boiling point, the body sends powerful hormones into protect. While these hormones are vital in dangerous situations, the body feels that every social situation is precarious. Having a panic attack in a public place only acerbates the issues, as the person with signs of social anxiety won’t want to return there.

4. Sweating Profusely

When you’re in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, you may begin to sweat. This response is another sign of the overproduction of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Most people don’t understand why you sweat so much, but it’s your anxiety in overdrive.

5. Skipping Grocery Stores

To someone who needs a gallon of milk, they think nothing of stopping at the supermarket and picking up what they need. However, to a person with social anxiety, that trip into the store might be worse than having a tooth pulled. Going to big box grocery stores with wide-open spaces and large crowds can be a nightmare.

6. Refusing Treatment

When you’re sick, you go to the doctor for help. However, when a person suffers from social anxiety, the doctor’s office brings much discomfort. Many people go without treatment simply because they’re afraid of the waiting room and the people there.

7. Social Anxiety Often Stems from Fearing Judgment

Part of the signs of social anxiety comes from the fear of judgment. Many folks are afraid that others will judge them harshly or unfairly. Remember, anxiety puts all sorts of thoughts into your mind and will make you think about things that aren’t true.

8. Waiting for Impending Doom

The number one reason people don’t want to go to the stores and other places where there are many people is that they fear a panic attack. You may be afraid that you will pass out, cause a spectacle of yourself, or have all eyes on you. Your anxiety can turn you into a hermit because it’s making you deliberate stuff that’s not likely to happen.

signs of social anxiety

9. Avoiding Driving

One of the signs of social anxiety that isn’t easily recognized is the fear of driving. Other things can also cause driving concerns, but it’s likely caused by being in a situation where you feel there’s no escape. Some people can drive on a two-lane highway, but they will have a full-blown anxiety attack if you put them on the interstate.

10. Body Language Can Reveal Social Anxiety

The body language of a person who has social anxiety is undeniable. For instance, have you ever seen someone jiggle change or keys constantly in their pockets? Nerve problems likely cause this, and it’s a way they cope. Someone who fidgets in their chair is probably suffering from anxiety too.

11. Need for Isolation

Once anxiety levels reach a particular peek, you’ll naturally use whatever coping skills you can find to get relief. Some people will take a nap to reset their brain, while others dunk their heads in ice-cold water. Others do not understand the need for isolation, but this time allows you to cool off and bring your anxiety back down to a manageable level.

12. People Who Have Social Anxiety Avoid Places with Loud Noises

Did you know that loud noises can also drive your anxiety through the roof? If you’re in a grocery store, the sound of the wheels on the carts, the registers clanging, and the children screaming can make you want to jump out of your skin. Some people with social anxiety find that their situation is worse when it’s in an environment where there’s noise.

According to Calm Clinic, noise anxiety often accompanies other types of anxiety, and it’s a challenge to manage. It’s similar to PTSD because the person who has it is often startled when the noise levels get above their comfortable baseline. Going to something like a parade or the fireworks on the 4th of July wouldn’t be possible for someone with social anxiety.

Not only would the crowd and the fear of not being able to escape become too much to handle, but the noise would undoubtedly make them uncomfortable.

13. Dizziness

One of the signs of social anxiety that most people don’t understand is dizziness. When your anxiety is high, your body will react in many different ways. While some people might sweat, others will find themselves dizzy and feel like their head is spinning in circles.

Oddly enough, you might be dizzy one time and not have the same symptoms during the next attack, which makes things even harder to gauge.

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