What is social anxiety disorder?

Please note that the Internet-based treatment described on this website is conducted in Swedish and only available to people registered and living in Sweden.

Do you feel severe anxiety when you stand in the centre of others' interest? Are you afraid of being scrutinized and judged?

If social anxiety has become an obstacle in your everyday life it's possible you are suffering from social anxiety disorder, one of the most common anxiety disorders. 

How it feels

Social anxiety disorder is characterised by a constant fear of being judged or embarrassed in one or more social situations. Examples of such situations include eating in the company of others, speaking in front of a group or with a person in authority. The feared social situations just about always create anxiety and is either avoided or suffered through with intense torment.

Typical symptoms

If you meet the following criteria it is likely that you suffer from social anxiety disorder:

  1. You have a constant fear of embarrassing yourself in social situations.
  2. The feared situations just about always trigger anxiety.
  3. You understand that the fear is exaggerated.
  4. You avoid the feared social situations entirely or suffer through them with feelings of severe anxiety.
  5. The avoidance or anxiety disturbs to a great extent your capacity for work, studies, social activities or relationships.

For persons under the age of 18 the problems must have been ongoing for at least six months.


The difference between ordinary shyness and social anxiety disorder is that the latter becomes a major obstacle to normal functioning in everyday life, such as at school or at work. Often the anxiety arises not only in the moment when you are standing in the centre of attention. It is also common to worry both far in advance, and also afterwards about how you handled the situation.


Social anxiety disorder is one of the most common types of anxiety disorders. It is estimated that nearly 8 per cent of our population, more than half a million Swedes, fulfil the criteria for moderate to severe forms of social anxiety disorder. Somewhat more women than men are affected.


If you suspect that you have panic disorder, we recommend that you seek health care where you live.

Please notice

The Internet-based treatment described on this website is conducted in Swedish and only available to people registered and living in Sweden.