Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is a highly common anxiety disorder, which involves a long-lasting and overwhelming fear of social situations. SAD usually starts during people’s teenage years and it is a relatively common and normal experience for us all from time-to time and across particular situations. For example, public speaking. For some people it gets better as they learn new ways to cope, although for many it does not go away on its own. It can be very distressing and have a significant impact on people’s lives, but there are effective ways to help people overcome it.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder

SAD is more than mere shyness. Many people will occasionally worry about social situations, but someone with SAD may feel excessively worried before, during and after these situations. We understand social anxiety as sitting on a spectrum, with SAD sitting at the extreme end.

You may have SAD if you:

  • dread everyday activities, such as meeting strangers, starting conversations, speaking on the phone, working or shopping
  • avoid or worry excessively about social activities, such as group conversations, eating with company, and parties
  • excessively worry about doing something you think is embarrassing, such as blushing, sweating, stuttering or appearing incompetent
  • find it difficult to do things when others are watching – you may feel like you’re being watched and judged all the time
  • fear criticism, avoid eye contact or have low self-esteem
  • experience symptoms such as feeling sick, sweating, trembling or a pounding heartbeat (palpitation)
  • experience panic attacks, where you have an overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety

Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder

Psychological therapy is an effective treatment for SAD, and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a highly recommended approach to help people understand, manage and overcome the underlying causes and symptoms of SAD.

We’re here for you. If you would like to enquire about treatment for SAD at the Fitzrovia Psychology Clinic, please contact us to arrange an assessment.