Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by fear of embarrassment associated with performance or exposure to evaluation by others. While we all feel a degree of nervousness in certain social situations, for those with social anxiety disorder, the anxiety is often so severe that it leads to avoidance of these situations altogether. A common concern among people with social anxiety disorder is that they will say or do something that will cause others to view them as weak, anxious, or crazy. This concern is typically out of proportion to the situation.

Children and adolescents with social anxiety may avoid recess or gym, using the school restroom, or eating in the cafeteria. They may have difficulty raising a hand in class, giving a presentation, or asking a question that would bring unwanted attention.

Recognizing Social Anxiety

  • Fear of being laughed at or embarrassed
  • Fear of crowds, public speaking, ordering in a restaurant, using the telephone
  • Avoidance of social contact
  • Fear of blushing in front of others
  • Difficulty maintaining eye contact or engaging in conversation
  • Physical symptoms such as a racing heart, stomachache, sweating
  • Fear of spilling food or choking while eating near others
  • Fear of completing a task such as writing in the presence of others
  • In children, anxiety may be expressed by crying, tantrums, or freezing

Recommended Treatment for Social Anxiety

With effective treatment, the prognosis for those with social anxiety is very good. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with an emphasis on exposure therapy is considered the treatment of choice for social anxiety. The early stages of therapy involve psychoeducation, cognitive restructuring, skill development, and relaxation training. These new skills are then implemented in situations that cause anxiety (in vivo exposures). This is accomplished gradually beginning with the least anxiety provoking situations. Participation in a social anxiety-specific CBT group is often a critical component of treatment. Learn more about social anxiety groups at Austin Anxiety and Behavioral Health Services.

For more information about social anxiety or to schedule an appointment with a social anxiety treatment specialist call (512) 246-7225 or email us at We are currently accepting new patients at our Round Rock and Austin therapy offices.

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  • Round Rock, TX 78665

West Lake Hills

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  • Austin, TX 78746