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:
- Typical symptoms with:
- Feared social situations
- Exposure to unfamiliar people or scrutiny
- Fear of doing something humiliating or embarrassing
Your anxiety disrupts your ability to function in daily life. It may interfere with:
- Normal routines
- Success in school
- Social relationships
- Your 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 of Other Psychiatric Disorders – Depression, substance abuse (alcoholism or drug abuse), 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.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/26/2012 -