Toronto Social Phobia and Shyness Support Group

Social Anxiety, What is it?

Regular meetings
Our Purpose
Social Anxiety
Notes and Articles
Where to Seek Help
More Books
Helpful Links
Calendar of Events
Contact Us

April 2010 - this web site has been replaced 

We now have our own domain name and a new web site: .  Please use the new site from now.

Social Anxiety Symptoms


Here we list Some anxiety symptoms that might accompany social phobia and other phobias. By observing any of them in yourself, you might notice that you have social anxiety, panic attacks or other sorts of anxieties and phobias:


Chest Pain


Chest pain is caused by muscle tension and sometimes feel very scary to the level that people with this pain think they are going to die of a heart attack. But this is a different pain and this can be checked out with a physician. Deep breathing and relaxation techniques help this pain to diminish. Massaging the upper body muscles also reduce the pain.



Lump in throat & Difficulty swallowing


It is caused by the muscles in the throat contracting due to anxiety or stress. Sometimes you feel like it is so difficult to swallow and trying hard to do it makes it more difficult. It is harmless and will not cause you to stop breathing, eating or drinking, it is just very unpleasant.


Colour loss in skin


During high tension and anxiety blood is diverted to the muscles. As a result the  blood vessels in your skin surface that give the skin a pink, healthy color receive reduced blood flow and the skin loses some of its color. It is not dangerous and will return to normal as the body starts to normalize after an attack.




Sweating is a normal physical reaction to  reduce the body temperature. During periods of anxiety and stress, as the body enters into the fight or flight mode, it uses more energy and as a result it sweats to release the excess heat. As the anxiety subsides sweat levels return to normal. Try to avoid focusing on sweating as it makes it worse, distract yourself by other activities and thoughts.


Shaking and shivering


Shaking is a normal reaction to fear and also happens as a response to a drop in body temperature. The muscles in the body contract spasmodically to create friction and heat to increase the body’s heat. It is natural and normal and it will pass after some time.


Neck & shoulder pain


As part of the body’s fight or flight response, the muscles contract. It is normal for the muscles in the Neck and shoulder area to follow this route and if the stress and anxiety lasts longer, the muscles get tense and tired and as a result we feel pain in this area.


Indigestion, heartburn, constipation and diarrhea


During anxiety and stress, the body diverts blood to critical parts that are necessary for fight or flight, mostly the muscles. One of the outcomes would be that the blood that is necessary for digestion is diverted from stomach and digestive tract. Also the muscles around the digestive tract can become knotted. As a result we might feel indigestion, heartburn and diarrhoea or constipation.


Sexual Dysfunction


Prolonged anxiety has an adverse affect on sexual performance especially in men that might find it difficult to achieve or maintain an erection. In women it might cause lack of any sexual interest.


Skin rashes, spots or dryness


These symptoms are common among people suffering from anxiety. Sometimes people will see eczema-like rashes around their nose, cheeks and forehead. Usually these rashes disappear soon.



Weakness in arms & tingling in the hands or feet


Because of all the physiological responses in anxiety we can have tingling feelings in hands or feet and also feel weak in arms or legs. The feeling of legs giving way under the body weight is one of them.  Usually shaking and moving hands and legs can recirculate the blood to these extremities of the body and stop the tingling feeling.



Dry mouth


As body fluids are diverted for use in other parts of the body during anxiety, the mouth becomes dry. To counter it, try to sip water or suck sweets to lubricate your mouth.




Everybody knows that the result of extreme anxiety during the day is having difficulty falling asleep. We have to try to have enough sleep because lack of sleep actually increases the anxiety symptoms.


One of the more distressing effects of anxiety, insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep. It is important to regain regular sleep patterns as lack of sleep can lead to disturbing symptoms.




Dreams and nightmares tend to mimic what is going on in our daily lives. If we are relaxed and contented we have pleasant dreams and usually do not remember them. If we are disturbed or confused our dreams are more likely to be too. Nightmares are unpleasant but harmless, the more you master good sleep and practice breathing and relaxation exercises the better your dreams will become.


Fears of going mad or losing control


You are not going mad if you think you are J If you are scared you are going mad, it means you are aware of what is happening to your mental process. People who really go mad don’t know what is happening to them. Confused nervous messages to the brain along tired nerves in a tired body do not constitute madness. So don’t be scared, it is just that your body and brain are tired and exhausted with anxiety and you receive wrong messages.


Increased depression & suicidal thoughts


Depression and anxiety are different and the result of different chemicals in the brain but sometimes they are felt together.  Anxiety has some similar symptoms to depression but still is a different state of mind. It is better to deal with it with actions and thoughts rather than anti-depressant drugs that are made for depressive moods.




Aggression and anger is part of fight or flight feelings we have during anxiety. It is a normal reaction to anxiety for some people. Aggression and anger can be controlled through Anger Management techniques.



Flu like Symptoms


When the body is fighting flu, it releases anti-bodies into the blood to attack the virus. This and flu cause the body to feel weak and sweaty and painful. Anxiety can cause the same symptoms. The way to get rid of it is to exercise.



Distorted vision


When adrenalin is released into the body, it creates many different reactions to deal with danger. One is to dilate the pupils, allowing more light to enter to be prepared to see the danger. When you are anxious, you become sensitive to bright light. It can become so severe that sometimes anxious people wear sunglasses to reduce the sensitivity.



Hormone problems


Anxiety affects different parts of the body, including the endocrine system. Endocrine balances the body glands and the secretion of hormones into the body. The human brain has centres that control the levels of released hormones and during anxiety periods these centres are affected and might change the hormone levels. Sometimes women will have irregular menstrual cycles and men might have mood swings because of the levels of testosterone in the body. These can be controlled and corrected by drugs.




One of the results of anxiety is tension in all muscles. In the neck and shoulder muscles, this can create feelings of headache and a tight band around the head, pain in the eyes, forehead or face.


Sore eyes


During an anxiety attack, the body fluids are directed to organ important for fight or flight response. This can cause soreness and dry eyes which is irritating.


Pins and needles sensations in the skin


Confused nerve signals in the body can create these feelings which will cease after the anxiety is reduced.





Hyperactive people do everything faster, they talk faster and walk faster, etc. Some people when they are anxious, become hyperactive because of the tense muscles and adrenalin in their system.


Loss of sex drive


Long periods of anxiety can decrease the sex drive because the body is focused on the up and coming imaginary danger and also exhausted.



Toothache like pains in the face and jaws


This happens because of the tension in the neck, shoulder and face muscles and tooth grinding that sometimes accompanies anxiety attacks.



By: Rama