7 Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder video


Necessarily, when approaching social anxiety disorder or social phobia, we have to start from the fact that it is totally normal to feel nervous in some situations, which involve social interaction. Who has not happened to get nervous on a date, speak in public or face a business lunch in a job that matters to us and in which we have just started? They are situations where the abnormal thing would be not to get nervous, or are we not human? However, there are situations in which it goes from being normal to being incapacitating, and it can affect us in our lives, situations that are repeated over and over again. So we say that we are facing a social anxiety disorder or social phobia.

But let's see when that line is crossed, and what it is, causes, types, symptoms and treatment:

What is social anxiety disorder or social phobia?

We are talking about an extremely common disorder. In a study that was carried out with the North American population, it is estimated that it affects 12% of the population throughout their life. A broad fact, which means that it is very easy for it to affect us throughout our lives. It is true that there are certain times of our life in which we are much more subject to social interactions, and that are more important. Therefore, we will have to be more attentive. For example, in adolescence, social interaction is very important, I would say crucial, and during youth, situations of relationship with the opposite sex as well.

It is characterized by a disproportionate fear of social situations that are highly feared, in a way that substantially disables or hinders the quality of life of the person. The red line will be put in the avoidance of situations.

The disorder is characterized by the presence of anxiety , with the classic symptoms, which interfere with daily life, properly referred to situations that involve social interaction, and the avoidance of this type of situation . Of course, it will be necessary to rule out that anxiety is produced by another type of disease. But in general, as a rule, it will be necessary to take into account that it causes anxiety, that it implies the avoidance of anxious situations, and that it is repeated over a period of 6 months .


Basically the causes can be hereditary or produced by the environment , and is closely related to the structure of the brain, and more specifically with the amygdala , within the limbic system of the brain.

However, although it is often established that there may be genetic causes, since direct relatives suffer from the same problem, it is also true that fears are transmitted from parents to children. Therefore, the environmental factor could be more important, even than the genetic one. It is very clear that if one of the parents has a fear, they will pass it on to their children.

The truth is that today, there are still no conclusive data on to what extent inheritance influences and to what extent the environment. In the future, with the advancement of genetic medicine, it will become clearer.

Types of social anxiety disorder or social phobia.

  • Non-generalized social anxiety disorder . It is the most benign subtype, as it focuses on a specific type of social situation. It can be produced only with the interactions of the other sex, or public speaking, or work situations, but always focused on a single area. Thus, it allows working on those specific situations, usually with a good prognosis. It can be due to a traumatic event, or perceived as traumatic.
  • Generalized social anxiety disorder. It would be a somewhat more complex sub-type, because it would be generalized to all kinds of social situations, and normally, due to the breadth of said situations, it is extremely disabling, and practically the interactions are reduced only to the close group, since the person would avoid all kinds of social situations.


The symptoms would be the most common when anxiety occurs , coupled with the avoidance of social situations.

  • Tachycardia
  • Dyspnea or shortness of breath
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Facial flushing
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Tartamudeo
  • Feeling of shame
  • Fear of humiliation


  • Prevention . The best treatment will be prevention, and it will be very interesting to take into account when social interactions begin to occur. Normally it will occur at school, mainly situations of social interaction with peers, situations of school presentations in public (jobs, theaters ...). And it is precisely in these situations where it will be necessary to work with students, to face fear, normalize what they feel and help them. Good observation by teachers and parents, together with an understanding of the problem, will be essential. Always speaking that the situation is not yet disabling.
  • Psychotherapy . Once the 3 criteria provided are met. If it produces anxiety, that situations are avoided and that it is repeated for at least 6 months, therapeutic intervention by a professional will be necessary. Normally, the treatment to be used will be cognitive behavioral, with different techniques and methodologies.
  • Psychopharmacological . In some cases it will be necessary to monitor the intervention psychopharmacologically. For this, antidepressant drugs and in some cases benzodiazepines are usually used as the first option.

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