Social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder, is a fear of being judged and evaluated negatively when interacting with other people. It can manifest as specific fears, such as fear of public speaking or eating in front of others, or as an overall feeling of discomfort.
What Does Social Anxiety Look Like?
Social anxiety exists on a spectrum—ranging from feeling nervous introducing yourself to strangers, to struggling to complete tasks while being observed, to not being able to leave the house. As a result, you may avoid meaningful events and interactions, which can negatively impact your interpersonal relationships, career prospects, and overall happiness.
Anxious About Being Anxious
Some people with social phobia may also experience a type of “meta anxiety,” wherein they worry that other people might be able to tell when they’re anxious (although it’s rarely as noticeable to observers).
9 Common Social Phobia Manifestations
- Meeting New People
- Conversing With Strangers
- Interacting With Authority Figures
- Making Phone Calls
- Public Speaking
- Speaking In Groups
- Eating, Drinking, & Using The Restroom In Public
- Going To Work
- Leaving The House
Overcoming Social Anxiety
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to manage your anxiety so that you can live the best possible life. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a well-researched and effective treatment for social phobia. Moreover, an experienced therapist or counselor can help you learn new coping strategies, grounding techniques, and ways of challenging your core fears.
When Is It Time To See A Therapist For Social Phobia?
It’s important to seek therapy when social anxiety begins to interfere with your quality of life and your relationships. Even if you feel like you’re able to manage, you should still get help if the anxiety is causing you to suffer—you deserve to not only survive but thrive. Talking to a professional can provide tools and support for overcoming your phobias and leading a more fulfilling life.
Anxiety Counseling In Southern California
If your anxiety is preventing you from having fulfilling relationships, jobs, and experiences, consider reaching out for professional support. Dr. Taji Huang is a licensed psychologist and anxiety therapist in Glendale, CA, who can help you address and overcome your social phobias. Don’t let fear hold you back from living the life you dream of– take that first brave step of seeking help today.