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:
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.
Schneier FR. Clinical practice. Social anxiety disorder. N Engl J Med. 2006;355:1029-1036.
Social Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety Disorders Association of America website. Available at: http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder. Accessed December 28, 2012.
Social Phobia. American Family Doctor Association Familydoctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/social-phobia.html. Accessed December 28, 2012.
What is Social Anxiety? Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Association
website. Available at:
Accessed December 28, 2012.
Social anxiety disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated October 29, 2013. Accessed November 26, 2013
Last reviewed November 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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