Social Anxiety

What is social anxiety?

Social anxiety is one of the most common anxiety disorders. If you’re suffering from social anxiety, you’re likely to experience an overwhelming fear of social situations. This may lead you to feel extremely anxious in the lead up to a social event, overthink “embarrassing” things you said or did following it – or in extreme cases, it may lead you to avoid socialising altogether. Worries tend to be around doing something that is humiliating, sweating, blushing or feeling inadequate in some way.

Symptoms of social anxiety

  • Dreading everyday activities such as meetings, talking in groups, speaking on the phone etc
  • Low self-esteem
  • Fear of being criticised
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Misuse of drugs or alcohol to manage social anxiety
consultation taking notes

Treatment for social anxiety

Therapy can help you understand both the origins of your anxiety and also how to overcome it. In some instances, people can also benefit from medication to help them manage their symptoms.


Following your initial assessment, we will advise whether we believe it would be helpful to meet with our Consultant Psychiatrist to consider if medication would be of help.

Frequently asked questions

You should seek help for social anxiety if you are finding that it is interfering in the way you live your life. You might be struggling in social situations – being very quiet and finding it difficult to engage in conversations, for example. Or you may find yourself drinking heavily to overcome your nerves or perhaps even avoiding social situations altogether for fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. These are all good reasons to seek support.
As an anxiety disorder, the most effective treatment for social anxiety is therapy. Medication can moderate your levels of anxiety in the short-term, but in the longer term, a course of psychological therapy will help you get to the bottom of your difficulties and develop coping strategies so that you don’t require medication.

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Dr Stacie Tay

Dr Stacie Tay attained her BSc (Hons) Psychology at the University of Nottingham and worked as a psychologist at the Institute of Mental Health, Singapore, before returning to the UK to complete her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University College London.   

Dr Tay has worked in a variety of settings within the NHS for more than eight years, including primary and secondary care, specialist psychological services and forensic inpatient settings. She currently works as a Clinical Psychologist at the North East London Foundation Trust.  

She has extensive experience working with individuals and groups, providing evidence-based psychological therapies including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and Mindfulness-based approaches as well as Schema-informed therapy.   

Dr Tay’s clinical experience involves working with people who present with a range of mild to severe mental health difficulties. This includes depression, anxiety (OCD, social anxiety, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, health anxiety, phobia-related disorders, PTSD), stress related issues, low self-esteem, complex trauma, interpersonal difficulties, grief and bereavement, and long-term health conditions.