Social Anxiety Disorder

The key features of Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, are: Discomfort with social interaction, and an excessive concern about being embarrassed and judged by others. The distress which individual’s experience can range from minimal, to a virtually disabling fear. The discomfort that people with SAD experience can generalize to routine activities such as eating in front of others, or using a public bathroom. People with SAD don’t necessarily want to isolate themselves, but their symptoms can be so severe that it leads to isolation.

Anxiety bubble

The DSM-5 criteria for Social Anxiety Disorder are:

1. Fear or anxiety in social settings, in which a person feels noticed, observedor judged. In a adult this could include a first date, a job interview, or speaking in a class or meeting. In children, the phobic/avoidant behaviors must occur whe theey are interacting mostly with kids their own age, rather than with adults. The symptoms of distress will be displayed in age appropriate ways, such as cringing, crying, or otherwise displaying obvious fear or discomfort.

2. Individual’s will fear rejection becuase poeple will see their symptoms.

3. Social interaction will consistently provoke distress.

4. Social interactions are avoided, or painfully and reluctantly endured.

5. Symptoms will be out of proportion to the actual situation.

6. The fear, anxiety, or other distress must be present for six months or more.

7. Symptoms must cause personal distress and impairment of functioning in one or more domains, such as interpersonal or occupational functioning.

8. The fear or anxiety are not due to a medical disorder, substance use, medication side effects, or another mental disorder. If a medical condition which may cause the individual to be excessively self-conscious (i.e. prominent facial scar), is present, the fear and anxiety are either unrelated, or disproportionate.

9. The clinician may also include a specifier that the anxiety is specific to performance situations (i.e. oral presentations).

Do you think that you or someone you know are suffering from SAD?

If so, complete the following anonymous quiz: Free Social Anxiety test (upcoming)