Social anxiety (also called social phobia) is a common anxiety disorder. A person with social anxiety feels symptoms of anxiety or fear in certain or all social situations, such as meeting new people, dating, being on a job interview, answering a question in class, or having to talk to a store clerk. Doing everyday activities in front of people—such as eating or drinking in front of others or using a public restroom—may trigger social anxiety.
But some people experience social anxiety in a more narrow sense as performance anxiety. They feel physical symptoms of anxiety in situations such as giving a speech, playing a sports game, or dancing or playing a musical instrument on stage. People with social anxiety disorder may worry about these occasions for weeks before they occur. Sometimes, they end up avoiding places or events where they think they might have to do something that will embarrass them. The fear that people with social anxiety disorder have in social situations is so strong that they typically feel it is beyond their ability to control.
Without treatment, social anxiety disorder can last for many years or a lifetime. But social anxiety doesn’t have to stop you from reaching your potential. There are effective treatments that can help you overcome these symptoms. Hypnotically augmented psychotherapy is a particularly effective means for helping people feel more comfortable and confident in situations that formerly caused fear and anxiety.