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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 disorders Depression, 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.

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References:

Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml. Updated March 2016. Accessed June 27, 2017.
Schneier FR. Clinical practice. Social anxiety disorder. N Engl J Med. 2006;355(10):1029-1036.
Social anxiety disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. http://www.dynamed.... Updated November 8, 2016. Accessed June 27, 2017.
Social phobia. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated May 2014. Accessed June 27, 2017.
Last reviewed June 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 12/20/2014

 

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