Social Phobia/Social Anxiety

What is it?

Social or public situations of any kind may induce this disorder which is often expressed as a fear of being the centre of attention, or of others noticing the sufferer’s anxious behaviour. Social phobia can also be classed as ‘specific social phobia,’ such as when there is social phobia only in specific  situations like public speaking. The fear of behaving in an embarrassing or humiliating way can lead to a complete withdrawal from social contact, as well as avoidance of specific social situations such as public toilets, eating out etc. The physical manifestations of this phobia include blushing, shaking and sweating etc.

DIY self diagnosis

If you can answer YES to most of the questions it is likely that you are affected by social phobia/social anxiety.
  • Do you worry a lot about embarrassing yourself in front of others?
  • Do you worry about what people might think of you?
  • Do you feel anxious in social situations?
  • Do you worry about behaving anxiously in any of the following situations:-
    • Public speaking
    • Eating/drinking in front of other people
    • Writing in front of other people
    • Parties and other social gatherings
  • Do you avoid any of the above situations because they make you feel anxious?
Anxiety UK strongly advises that people seek further information and guidance from their GP who will be able to make a formal diagnosis.

Social Phobia/Social Anxiety

Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Fact Sheet

This fact sheet gives a detailed overview, as well as a look at some of the evidence based approaches to managing social phobia/social anxiety.
Download Free

Recommended resources

Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness uses real-life examples and cognitive behavioural techniques. This book attempts to help the reader unlearn bad habits and replace them with healthy ones.You can purchase your copy from the Anxiety UK shop here.

Read our blog on public speaking here –


Public speaking: overcoming your fear