When you enter an unfamiliar social setting, does your heart start to pound and your palms begin to sweat? Are you worried about saying the wrong thing and embarrassing yourself?
Are you more focused on whether others are judging you than on the actual conversation? Do you try to make up excuses to leave social situations or to avoid them entirely?
If you answered yes to all or the majority of these questions, it’s possible you have social anxiety disorder.
Social anxiety disorder is quite common in the United States. According to the
The exact symptoms of social anxiety disorder may vary from person to person. For instance, while some people may have social anxiety while meeting new people, others may have it when they’re speaking in public.
Some may even have social anxiety in nearly all social settings.
A diagnosis of social anxiety disorder requires having a consistent fear about social situations. This fear has to do with feeling embarrassed, humiliated, or rejected by others.
Shyness and social anxiety often get confused. While shyness can be a symptom of social anxiety disorder, it is not the same thing as social anxiety.
Instead, common symptoms of social anxiety disorder may include:
- dreading social situations, including work, school, or parties
- avoiding social situations where you may receive significant attention
- fear of embarrassing yourself in front of people
- fear of offending others
- fear of meeting new people
- fear of speaking in front of larger groups
- remaining silent in social settings
- feeling anxious in social situations
- feeling under scrutiny by other people
- fear of exposing your anxiety symptoms
- fear of being judged negatively
- fear of being rejected socially
- overanalyzing your social performances
If your anxiety isn’t specific to social settings, it’s possible that you have a different type of anxiety disorder. Some of the most common anxiety disorders include:
- generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): when the focus of your anxiety isn’t on one specific thing
- panic disorder: having repeated, unexpected panic attacks and fearing having another one
- agoraphobia: fear of situations that might be difficult to escape from (e.g., an elevator)
- specific phobias: an intense fear of a specific thing or situation (e.g., heights)
- separation anxiety disorder: anxiety around being separated from the people close to you
It’s also possible that you have a co-occurring condition. This means having two conditions at the same time.
Additionally, leaving social anxiety disorder untreated increases the likelihood of developing major depressive disorder and alcohol use disorder.
Medication and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are often the best options for managing social anxiety disorder.
If you think you may have social anxiety disorder, consider speaking with a healthcare professional to find out what course of action may be best for you.
This brief, time-saving questionnaire is designed for anyone who thinks they may be having symptoms of social anxiety disorder.
The items below will help you determine whether you might need additional help and professional support for your symptoms. It can also provide you with some language to help describe your symptoms to a mental health professional.
A mental health professional can then help you determine whether your issues might be a symptom of a social anxiety disorder or something else and recommend treatment if needed.
This online screening is not a definitive tool. It is not designed to diagnose social anxiety disorder or take the place of a professional diagnosis.
A professional diagnosis is the only way to know for sure if you have social anxiety disorder. But this quiz may be a good place to start to determine whether you would benefit from an evaluation by a mental health professional.
You can also use this test as a self-screening tool to track your moods or to show your doctor how your symptoms have changed from one visit to the next.
Only a trained medical professional, such as a healthcare or mental health professional, can help you determine the next best steps for you.