Do I Have Social Anxiety?
Beyond Shyness and Introversion: What Is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety disorder is a common anxiety disorder characterized by a debilitating fear (or “phobia”) of other people and social contacts. Those suffering from social anxiety may go to great lengths to avoid any social situation. In the most extreme cases, the person may avoid leaving their home entirely.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, social anxiety is “an intense fear of being watched and judged by others.” Social anxiety is not just about being “shy” or “introverted.” Shyness may be a personality trait, and introversion defines a person’s temperament. On the other hand, social anxiety hinders a person’s ability to function normally. While a shy or introverted person may not prefer to be the center of attention or “in the spotlight,” they will generally not experience the crippling distress that defines social anxiety.