Social Anxiety

social anxiety
social anxiety

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Simply put, Social Anxiety disorder, aka SAD, is an intense fear of social situations. SAD is one of the most common anxiety disorders in higher education students.

Physical Effects

The physical symptoms of SAD include:

  • sweating
  • blushing
  • avoidance of eye contact
  • nausea
  • heart palpitations
  • panic attacks

Mental Effects

Mental effects include:

  • low self-esteem
  • self-criticism
  • sensitivity to criticism
  • fear of social situations
  • dread being the centre of attention
  • worry about negative evaluation
  • Over-thinking about events that already have or may never happen

Effects on Business Students

Effects of SAD on business students include:

  • Avoiding classes – socially anxious students tend to not attend classes that may consist of public speaking or delivering a presentation. As presenting and speaking to an audience features in most business careers, this could result in students with SAD being at a disadvantage due to not developing these relevant skills
  • Conflicting feelings – students often experience a conflict between feeling like they need to engage with their studies, while at the same time being afraid of being judged negatively if they do so
  • Missing useful events – business students with SAD may shun attending events such as careers fairs and employability workshops as they would be required to network and reach out to people
  •  Negative impact on studies & employment – SAD can have an adverse effect on academic performance and can sometimes even lead to students dropping out of their institution. This can lead students earning less income or having problems securing employment
  • Alcoholism – Students suffering from SAD sometimes resort to excessive alcohol consumption as a form of self-medication. They do this to cope with anxious feelings and negative emotions. However this usually just leads to more serious consequences
  • Suicidal Thoughts – All of the above effects, coupled with a sense of not belonging and viewing themselves as burdens, can result in higher education students feeling so hopeless that they do not want to live anymore

As you can see, Social Anxiety disorder is quite common in students and can have very serious implications. If you experience any of the above symptoms or effects and they are negatively impacting your life, please see your GP.