• Diagnosis of Social Anxiety Disorder

    Social anxiety disorder is not well understood by the general public, or by medical and mental health professionals. As a result, the majority of people with social anxiety disorder may be misdiagnosed or untreated.
    The diagnosis of social anxiety disorder is based on the following criteria being present for 6 months or more:
      General symptoms may include:
      • Feared social situations
      • Exposure to unfamiliar people or scrutiny
      • Fear of doing something humiliating or embarrassing
      Disruption of ability to manage daily life activities, such as:
      • Normal routines
      • Success in school
      • Career
      • Social relationships
    • Anxiety in social situations is very distressing, but recognized as excessive or unreasonable
    The process of making the diagnosis may include the following:
    Initial assessment—Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms and medical history. You may be asked how long the symptoms have been present, how distressing they are, and how they affect your ability to function. You may be given a psychological assessment as well.
    Evaluation for or of other psychiatric disordersDepression , substance abuse (alcohol use disorder or drug addiction), and other anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, panic attacks) often occur with social anxiety disorder. You may be tested for these and other disorders.

    References

    Schneier FR. Clinical practice. Social anxiety disorder. N Engl J Med. 2006;355(10):1029-1036.

    Social anxiety disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 17, 2015. Accessed December 23, 2015.

    Social phobia (social anxiety disorder). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/social-phobia-social-anxiety-disorder/index.shtml. Accessed December 23, 2015.

    Revision Information

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