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 Elena Touroni

Dr. Elena Touroni is a skilled and experienced Consultant Psychologist with a track record of delivering high-quality services for individuals with all common emotional difficulties and those with a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is experienced in service design and delivery, the management of multi-disciplinary teams, organisational consultancy, and development and delivery of both national and bespoke training to providers in the statutory and non-statutory sector.

Having obtained a first degree in Psychology (BSc) at the American College of Greece, she completed her doctoral training at the University of Surrey. Dr. Touroni is highly experienced in the assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety, substance misuse, personality disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, adjustment disorder and relationship difficulties. She works with both individuals and couples and can offer therapy in English and Greek.

Dr. Touroni has held a variety of clinical and managerial positions including as Head of Service in the NHS. Further she has held academic positions for the University of Surrey and the Institute of Mental Health lecturing on specialist postgraduate Masters and Doctorate programmes.

She is trained in several specialist therapeutic approaches such as schema therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based approaches and Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). As well as holding a variety of NHS positions, Dr. Touroni is the co-founder of a private practice in Central London that has been a provider of psychological therapy for all common emotional difficulties including personality disorder since 2002. She is the founder and one of two directors of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic.