Do You Have Social Anxiety?

Many people experience anxiety or feel uncomfortable in certain social situations. This nervousness and worry may be normal and appropriate given the situation. For instance most people, even those without social anxiety, may feel nervous meeting their girlfriend/boyfriend’s family for the first time. It would also be normal to feel anxious at a professional event where you have to give a toast or presentation. Another example of very normal social anxiety would be feeling uncomfortable interacting with difficult relatives at a family event. However if you notice that you feel uncomfortable and anxious in almost all social situations you may have social anxiety. Review the symptom checklist below to determine the impact of your social anxiety:

1. In social situations I believe others are judging me or testing me.

All of the time | Very often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never

2. I avoid social situations because I am fearful I will become too anxious.

All of the time | Very often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never

3. Just anticipating a social interaction can make me experience some of the following physical reactions: vomiting, headache, sweating, heart palpitations, feeling flushed, panic attacks, hyperventilating, shaking, dizziness, nausea, blushing, tightness in chest, voice changes, diarrhea.

All of the time | Very often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never

4. During a social interaction I experience some of the following physical reactions: vomiting, headache, sweating, heart palpitations, feeling flushed, panic attacks, hyperventilating, dizziness, nausea, blushing, tightness in chest, voice changes, diarrhea.

All of the time | Very often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never

5. I find myself spending an excessive amount of time worrying about a social interaction even before it takes place.

All of the time | Very often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never

6. My thoughts about a social interaction feel beyond my control or obsessive.

All of the time | Very often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never

7. I think that people I interact with know how nervous and embarrassed I feel.

All of the time | Very often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never

8. I believe I will make a fool of myself in front of others.

All of the time | Very often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never

9. I believe that compared to other people, my fear of social interactions seems excessive.

All of the time | Very often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never

10. In a social situation I purposefully try to make myself invisible to avoid embarrassment and anxiety.

All of the time | Very often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never

11. Friends and family members have told me that my fear of social interactions seems excessive.

All of the time Very often Sometimes Rarely Never

12. I use drugs and alcohol to make social interactions easier.

All of the time | Very often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never

13. I feel physically, mentally and emotionally drained from my anxiety about interacting with others or avoiding others.

All of the time | Very often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never

14. My fear and anxiety about social situations prevents me from engaging in hobbies or activities I enjoy doing.

All of the time | Very often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never

15. My fear and anxiety about social situations leads to problems with romantic partners, friends or family.

All of the time | Very often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never

16. My fear and anxiety about social situations impacts my professional performance.

All of the time | Very often | Sometimes | Rarely | Never

Review and tally your answers by category (All of the time, Very often, Sometimes, Rarely, or Never). This checklist is not a diagnostic tool but can help gauge the impact of your social anxiety. If you answered “All of the time” or “Very often” to more than half of the questions you may have social anxiety. However, the best way to determine if you have social anxiety is to consult with a mental health professional. Regardless of the outcome of this checklist, if you believe your social anxiety is causing problems in your life, it may be worth seeking professional help. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and EMDR Therapy are both very effective methods for treating social anxiety.