What is Social Anxiety Disorder? Know Causes | Diagnosis | Treatment

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Social anxiety disorder (previously known as social phobia) is an anxiety disorder where an individual gets extremely nervous or feared of social situations. Anxiety disorders are the types of disorders that cause fear and distress in individuals.

Social anxiety is not the same as shyness because shyness is a temporary reaction, whereas social anxiety is a disorder that stays for a longer duration. Individuals with social anxiety disorder feel uncomfortable in social gatherings, talking to a broader audience, or meeting new people.

Following are symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder:


  • Increased heart rate
  • Extreme sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Shaking
  • Difficulty speaking


  • Extreme worry
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Unnecessary fear about being judged
  • Missing out school or office
  • Fear of being the centre of attention
  • Trouble sleeping because of excessive worry

Causes for Social Anxiety Disorder:

There is no exact cause for social anxiety disorder, but certain factors may lead to it. Factors that can lead to social anxiety disorder include negative experiences, environmental factors, genetics, or combination.

Adverse experiences include- bullying or abuse, sexual harassment, or conflict with family or partner. Individuals with a family history of social phobia have chances of having it as well. In many cases, abnormalities in the brain or its functioning can also cause social anxiety disorder.


Social Anxiety is diagnosed by the symptoms only as there is no medical test to diagnose it. Healthcare experts or Psychologists interview about the symptoms, experiences, and behavioural patterns and provides treatment accordingly. Social Anxiety Disorder results in depression and low self-esteem.


Social Anxiety Disorder is treated depending on individual cases. Different forms of therapy get prescribed to patients with social phobia. Cognitive behavioural therapy, exposure therapy and group therapy are the commonly advised therapies for social anxiety disorder.

Social Anxiety Disorder is quite common in teenagers. It is more common amongst the rural areas of India. The primary reason behind this, according to experts, is the lack of knowledge about the disorder. Symptoms are often ignored by adults or not paid much attention, which causes the condition to get more severe over time. It happens most often in rural parts of India due to the lack of knowledge. Getting an education is still a struggle for the individuals who reside in rural areas and are financially unstable, and in such cases having an idea about specific types of disorder is entirely new for them.

It does not mean that adults or young children do not have a social anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, many individuals whose condition is left untreated at a young age continue to stay even during their adulthood. India is a place where pre-existing societal norms can easily take power over logical reasoning. It is one primary reason why such disorders are left untreated and become a disruption in life. One must pay attention to every abnormality or symptom, and one should also take proper action against it.