Published on 08 September 2021

Social Phobia Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Performance Psychology social-phobia-disorder
Table of Contents

Are you frightened of being judged by others? Are you self-conscious in everyday situations? Do you avoid meeting new people? It's natural to feel nervous in such social situations that may cause the feeling of butterflies in your stomach. 

Social Anxiety can sometimes lead you to an overthinking attitude which is good in some things but can also destroy your decision-making power. You could start doubting yourself too, before making a decision.

If you have been feeling the same for at least six months & these feelings are creating obstacles for you to perform your everyday tasks, you may have a social Anxiety disorder or social phobia. This problem has a certain name, and it is called (SAD) social anxiety disorder.
Feel intensely uncomfortable in social situations? Use this guide to learn about symptoms, treatment, and self-help tips to overcome social phobia.

What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Social Anxiety disorder is also known to be social phobia disorder, is a type of Anxiety that causes intense fear in social settings. Anxiety is the distress resulting from an event's anticipation, and phobia is an irrational fear of specific situations or objects.

SAD is mostly described as the strong and unsensible fear of meeting new people or strangers. It consistently makes you think about the negative aspects of meeting someone. Things like getting judged by someone we meet or humiliated after saying something to someone or being embarrassed are the main problems that occur to those who have Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).

People with this disorder often tend to avoid crowded places like restaurants, festivals, gatherings, etc. their behavior also shows that they mostly stay isolated and in compact atmospheres. Individuals with this ailment feel anxious while communicating with people, encountering new people, & attending social gatherings. 

Though Anxiety, in general, is a social situation, it affects personal or professional life & lasts for at least 6 months. Individuals know that their fear is excessive, but it often feels that the anxiety is overpowering and out of control. Social phobia triggers vary among people but may include the following:

Generally, people avoid treatment, believing it’s just a part of their personality. If left untreated, social phobia disorder can lead to a chronic mental health condition. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Social Phobia Disorder?

You would think it is normal and it's okay not to talk with anyone, and sometimes you would even like your own Company by yourself. But it is not good in the real-life world as it will leave you alone. There are some symptoms to recognize that you have this disorder. 
Some of the common physical symptoms of social phobia disorder are:

  • nausea
  • excessive sweating
  • Trembling
  • difficulty in speaking
  • dizziness  

Psychological symptoms may include:

  • worrying intensely about social situations.
  • stressing for days or weeks before an event.
  • avoiding the social situation.
  • trying to escape when in a social situation.
  • fearing that other people will notice you are stressed or nervous.
  • need the help of alcohol while facing the social situation.
  • Not being able to go to school or work because of anxiety.
  • Lost words during meeting someone or talking.
  • Fear of bad incidents can affect you mentally.
  • Making wrong decisions that would cost you a lot.

It’s normal to feel anxious at times; symptoms of social anxiety may not occur in every situation. However, it is curable with therapies like talking therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, & medications that can help overcome symptoms.

Frequently asked questions

Valerian roots are available online. You can also get valerian roots online in the form of tea. Most people drink this tea. Even tablets and capsules are also available.
Start by asking about their profession, name, choices, hobbies, etc., to make a long conversation. It may sometimes turn into a wonderful and memorable conversation.
You may have gone through a bad experience like humiliation, embarrassment, etc. There could be genetic problems also, but the main problem is negative experiences.

What Causes Social Phobia Disorder?

The exact cause of social phobia disorder is still unknown. Some of the current research supports that it is triggered by environmental factors. Whereas other researchers have also seen that family genes and history also matter.

Although, it is still not clear about the reason why only some get diagnosed with this disorder and why not others. But the overthinking personality is likely to be a target social phobia disorder.

Negative incidents may also contribute to this ailment, which includes: Bullying, Family conflict, and Sexual Abuse. There is also a brain structure problem known as Amygdala, which works for fear, anger, and pleasure emotion. It maintains our conscious thoughts.

People suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also have symptoms where they are anti-social. It is a kind of SAD or social Phobia disorder.

Physical abnormalities such as serotonin imbalance can also lead to social phobia. Serotonin is a chemical that helps regulate mood. An overactive amygdala may also contribute to this disorder.

Anxiety disorders can be genetic, but researchers are not sure if they are linked to genetic factors or not. For instance, a child might develop symptoms of the disorder by learning from one of their parents with an anxiety disorder. Children can also acquire the symptoms of Anxiety if they are being raised in a controlled & overprotective environment. 

Treatment For Social Phobia

There are several types of treatment available for treating social phobia. The treatment differs from individual to individual, as some need only one kind of treatment while others require more than one.

Your healthcare associate may refer you to a mental health provider for treatment. Treatment options for social phobia may include medications & psychotherapy, or sometimes both.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy therapy helps in controlling Anxiety with the help of relaxation techniques and breathing & also helps to replace negative opinions with positive ones. It usually works in steps. Your therapists will make you do a certain 5 steps process. 

  • Make a list - Put a line from top to bottom in the middle of the blank paper. Write your current and past thought on the left side. The right side of the page will be for new thoughts or the thoughts you are gonna make to change yourself from a past mistake. Give the names yourself for each side. Let us say “ OLD ME” on the left side and “NEW ME” on the right side.
  • Write down old thoughts - Now focus on writing the thought that you normally do, whether it be from office work or something else. Write down the thought you wished you wanted to change. It could be anything you face. Let it be personal, disrespectful, embarrassing, or lack of confidence. All negative aspects will be written down in the “OLD ME” section.
  • Write down new thoughts - Once you write negative aspects in the “OLD ME” section, write down the changes you are going to make in your overall life. Just remember that the changes you are gonna make should be a problem solver and positive. Try to be constructive and confident. And write everything that you are capable of doing and try to stick to it. Write it in the “NEW ME” section.
  • Read that list as a reminder - Once your list is completed, carry the list with you where ever you go and remember that when you meet new people or about to meet new people or you are going to interact with someone, take the list out before any activity and read it and make your purpose of overcoming it.
  • Work over it and make changes - Change is the most valuable thing which needs to be done by you. You may need to leave of your comfort zone for this to happen. Read the list and see what you are lacking. You will notice the change in looking at things differently. 

In the end, you need to make all the effort. If the efforts are taken, the change is also bound to happen sooner or later. 

Exposure Therapy

The therapy helps to face social situations rather than avoid them. It helps you in certain ways where your mind gets the hang of talking to new people. The mind starts adjusting to the daily meet and greet and talking with strangers.

The stress and anxiety are disrupted at a certain point, and your brain starts to take meetings and conversation and everything normally, because of which you start feeling normal when talking to others. This therapy is also parted with Cognitive behavioral therapy. This combination of therapy works well and positively.

Group Therapy

Group therapy helps you to learn social skills & some important ways to cope in a social atmosphere. Participating in group therapy with others with the same stress and Anxiety will make you feel less alone. It might give you a chance to practice your skills through role-playing.

By talking, communicating, and interacting, you may find that you have inner confidence coming out of you, and the senses will be released from your brain, which will make you happy, proud, and calm.

Some Of The Herbal Treatments For Social Anxiety

Valerian Root 

The method of using Valerian root has been for 1000 years. People have been using this for several problems like nervousness and improper digestion, and most of all, it is used for sleeping problems in today's world. Obviously, there is no scientific proof of Valerian root, but ancient civilizations like greek and Rome used to treat conditions.


This herbal medication was nothing but an ornamental plant before a Spanish doctor found out that this flower has the ability to cure some disorders. It works on multiple problems, such as unstable Heart rate, sleep problems, minor pain, and Anxiety.

Chamomile Tea

The popular drink that is a substitute for coffee and normal tea, Chamomile tea is a great herbal supplement for relieving Anxiety. It is normal to drink in North America. Most people drink Camomile tea on a daily basis in North America.

Self-help Tips For Treating Social Phobia

Self help is when you can treat conditions by your own. Yes they are affective if you do so, but it is also important for you to get in wise enough and change the thinking pattern on your own, so that you would not be in any form of trouble.

Medications For Social Phobia

Three main types of medications that can help manage symptoms of social phobia are antianxiety medications, antidepressants, & beta-blockers.


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, used as antidepressants, can also provide ease in treating social phobia disorder. Some examples may include the following: Paroxetine, Sertraline, and Fluoxetine.

Anti-anxiety medications

Anti-anxiety medications act rapidly to alleviate Anxiety symptoms, but healthcare physicians recommend these medications for a short period as they can create dependence. Some examples may include Alprazolam (Xanax), and Clonazepam (Klonopin)


Beta-blockers are those that block you from physically happening anxiety by blocking the stimulating effects of adrenaline. Most medicines that are used as beta blockers are Metoprolol succinate, and Metoprolol tartrate.

Change And Maintain The Lifestyle

There’s no way to predict what can trigger someone’s Anxiety, but you can follow certain steps to alleviate the impact of symptoms if you’re anxious.

Get help early: Social phobia, like many other mental health conditions, can be challenging to treat if you wait.

Keep a journal: Keep track of your personal life as it may help you and your mental health care professional identify what trigger off your stress & which specific things make you feel calm & relaxed.

Set priorities in life: To reduce Anxiety. You need to manage your time and energy carefully. Spend some of it on things that make the world feel less stressful for a change!

Avoid unhealthy substances: Use of alcohol, caffeine, and drug or use of nicotine can worsen Anxiety. If you are addicted to any of these substances, gradually quitting can make you more anxious. It is recommended to consult a healthcare associate or find a treatment program or support to relieve you.

Participate in social events: People with SAD are not so fond of participating in social events and festivals. But it is one of the best chances to overcome your fear of being anti-social. Try to start a conversation by yourself. That is the best way to work on your disorder.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Social Anxiety disorder is a common problem in most people. There are so many therapy and treatments for this disorder. But all treatments and therapies are effective only if you follow them accordingly. If there is no initiative from your side, then you may go through any treatment or therapies, but you won't be able to observe any changes.

Everything starts with you, and everything revolves around you. If you want to keep up with this busy world, then you must compromise something to gain something. In this case, you must compromise your comfort and need to take the initiative to talk with others.